Are these two causes related?
In the last chapter, I explained the Seven Stages of Dementia.
I was diagnosed with Dementia but never told what Stage? Do you know what Stage you are in?
As I said in the last chapter, I would be in a different place if I used the list! If I had lived with these problems in the 60s, I most likely would have been in a unit called a psychiatric ward. So grateful the government stopped funding this!
Hopefully, now you know a bit more about Dementia. However, there is something we need to address, and that is how does it occur?
Well, we know that neural decline affects our cognitive abilities. We also know that the death of brain cells causes that neural decline.
The causes of destruction of our brain cells can be physical damage, such as an accident that causes major brain injury. A stroke that indirectly kills brain cells. Infections and illnesses can damage cells. Sport-related brain injury is a prevalent topic of concern at the moment. Medication can impact brain function and, with time, cause brain cell death. So you can see some causes are pretty straightforward, but for the majority, it is not!
I think that there are two fundamental causes of neural decline, so let me explain.
The first cause is age-related. Now, I know they say it’s not age-related, but it is. As I explained, our bodies are degenerating all the time. This is a natural part of life; everything decays in time. This is the reason we die if nothing else kills us first. We die because our bodies can’t continue running the human system. So it is logical to assume that brain cells die over time too. I don’t think you will find this is in dispute.
We all know that if we are lucky enough to get older, we reach a point where we cannot do things we once could do without effort and usually, it is the physical things that go first. Also, for many, some of those mental abilities start to slip too.
Most will live the rest of their lives doing what they can and getting by, being no burden to anyone and most importantly, being happy with life.
We can help this process by looking after ourselves, being as active as possible, and eating well. As for the mental faculties, the more we do, the better we will continue to do.
Studies have shown that people who actively change their lifestyles through diet, exercise, physical and mental, and sleep well can dramatically improve their cognitive abilities. Best of all, people in Stage 3, Mild Cognitive Stage of Dementia, can reverse the decline. Most at Stage 3 or below are in the Preemptive Stage and can actively slow, stop and reverse the neural decline.
So, why is it that the majority of those with Dementia, around 67% develop the most common form called Alzheimer’s?
Let’s have a look at Alzheimer’s.
There is no definitive cause, but there is a common thought about the underlying reasons Alzheimer’s develops.
When brain cells work, sending messages constantly around the brain, they use lots of energy. As with any energy produced, there is always waste. A simple example would be a campfire would have waste in the forms of smoke and ash. The waste produced by the working brain cells is a protein called Amyloid Beta. The Amyloid Beta is expelled out of cells and into the surrounding area.
Enzymes help break down the Amyloid Beta. Enzymes are proteins that act as a catalyst that affects the rate something happens. Like increasing the rate at which the Amyloid Beta is broken down. There are over 10,000 different enzymes in the human body. Four are known to be involved with breaking down Amyloid Beta.
However, as we get older, these enzymes become less effective in carrying out their function. As a result, Amyloid Beta builds up, clumps together and forms what is known as Amyloid-Beta Plaques.
Alois Alzheimer, the name synonymous with Dementia, first noticed this sticky protein substance in the brains of those with neural decline. It is thought that this sticky substance, now called Amyloid-Beta Plaques, stopped signals from passing between brain cells. When brain cells stop working, they quickly die.
You can see that if more brain cells die and more Amyloid-Beta Plaques form, then the problem will exponentially get worse.
It is the holy grail of medicine in this field to find the drug that removed the amyloid Beta.
A new drug is just being developed, and after over 3000 trials in twenty countries, tests are continuing in Canada, the US, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland, Japan and the EU.
There is also a lot of study and research into a natural process that can also get rid of Amyloid Beta, and it’s drug-free!
I’ll explain both in the next chapter.
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