Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Recent Study on Alzheimer's Disease

I was on my way to work on this Wednesday when the sun is hardly peeking, when I heard on the AM radio radio about this recent discovery on Alzheimer's. After the weekend focus on the Glorietta 2 bombings, we all seem to have forgotten modern pending diseases like this. Instead of being embraced by the coldness and comfort of sleep, I decided to listen to what they would have to say on its recent developments.

Alzheimer's Disease, according to Wikipedia is a neurodegenerative disease, that is commonly found in people over age 65. Approximately 24 million people worldwide (majority is over 60 years of age) have it, and it's been this modern old age sickness we have come to identify in these times.

AD is a progressive cognitive malfunction or deterioration resulting to psychological/behavioral changes and thinking/critical process. It often leads people to live in their own worlds, unable to understand anything but what their mind allows them to and it often results to permanent memory loss. The person you might once knew as a chemist might proclaim she is a Celebrity superstar, something to that effect. You might call this 'dementia.'

Somehow majority of us have come across this in books and in any types of media, and it's really closely identified with old age. As soon as a new and common disease springs up, we are more concerned on the developments of "who gets it, why he got it, and the cure." AD, as identified is more persistent and common on 60 above. It is identified as an old man's sickness, therefore we can single out that one. The reason why this disease occurs can be broken down to many hypothesis. It could be genetics. It could be the reduced biosynthesis of a certain neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It could be lack of certain protein (which I chose not to discuss in this blog because it's far more technical, and I don't want to attempt to pollute your mind with my very unreliable chemical interpretation).

But unfortunately cure is still unavailable and we've reduced to the just preventing the disease. Not that we can prevent aging, but the usual prevention in DIET, Intake of vitamins B (Folic Acid), Moega 3 fatty acids, Cholesterol lowering drugs etc should be adhered to and being aware of the risk factors like Smoking, poor cardiovascular health and massive head injury should be avoided or eliminated.

Taking you back on the main topic of this blog, it's about a recent scientific findings about AD. Assuming we already know about AD, as mentioned above, there's been a new and very interesting study that Alzheimer's Disease Progresses in Highly Educated People more rapidly. Okay, stop right there.

From this statement we could amazingly come up to our own hypothesis that since AD is a common form of old-age disease, memory loss or dementia, then those brains of people who have had too many neuro-activity and exercise in their lifetime cannot anymore take the pressure and would result to their AUTO-PILOT. Can it be appropriate to use the analogy of Brain to a Tire that Brains like tires wear out? All along, I thought that we should exercise our brain more, educate ourselves more and widen our horizons. Just imagine how I pressured my brain in those countless Math and Geometry exams? I could speed up my mental deterioration if this is the case....Okay, I have to stop right there, as I am being carried away.

So what I did was to research as soon as that information got to me. And it is apparently grounded with study. According to medicalnewstoday "too much educational pursuits can speed up progression of AD once it's developed" this is according to the research of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

According to the findings, they used 312 New Yorkers aged 65 and older, diagnosed with AD and they monitored them in 5 years. The patients had intensive neurological assessments in specified tests in specific brain functions. According to the observation, "overall mental agility declined every year, with every additional year of education equated to an additional 0.3% deterioration. This decline speeds up memory loss as well.

The possible explanation for this, which some non-scientific people, can readily hypothesize, maybe on the lack of memory space, just like your computer. If you're already thinking about this, as I had on my way to work, the study also supports this with their calculated hypothesis.

Also, according to the same study, "the possible explanation of this might be due to the cognitive reserve theory." It explains that people who are more likely to think and exercise their minds in various educational pursuits, develop information hubs and or so called nerve connections. If AD is diagnosed in that patient, most likely the disease would attack more hubs and nerve connections, compared to a less educated person (not totally isolating and discriminating people, it's a factual term for people with 4 years max education). The more connections or hubs it attack, the more accumulated damage it might incur. The theory, I admit is quite logical.

This study is very interesting because it's quite contradicting the attainable goal of intellectual pursuit. Everyone wants to be educated almost about anything. And it doesn't help that we are in a so-called "INFORMATION AGE." The more knowledge you acquire, the better you are competing and living in this world. We love knowledge. We love to educate ourselves in whatever fields lay our interests in. Just walking can supply you with countless ideas and information given the countless access to it. Plus, we need educated people, highly educated people to think of curing up diseases and to do some wide scale study and observations for mankind. It is quite amazing to think that TOO MUCH EDUCATION or thinking can be included in some of the risk factors of AD.

We could just readily dismiss this theory, if the claim is not supported by any study, and if the claim is not logical. But the theory is logical. We really don't need a highly medical brain to understand the theory. The study also speaks a calculated and scientific observation, which really deserves an audience.

Personally, I've always had the knack of wallowing in information, research or any educational pursuits. Even if it's not set in a traditional method, I still find myself feeding information and constant education, especially at work, and frankly I do not intend to stop anytime sooner.

I think, the main concern of the study is to disseminate knowledge that it happens and there are numbers or statistics that explain the ongoing susceptibility on more educated people to AD. It is an interesting information to explain the numbers, but the bottomline still stands that it could be prevented. And to those highly medical educated people, I bid you good luck in finding the cure before AD creeps in! :D

No comments: