Friday, December 26, 2008

Alzheimer's Disease: past, current, and future treatments

Examiner.com
National
As the new year approaches we should be aware of Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias: past, current, and future treatments
by Meg Marquardt, Omaha Science Examiner
Agustine D., the first AD patient described by Alzheimer in 1906. Let's take an in-depth look at the history and exciting future of AD treatment.

Part I: A Historical Perspective

The history Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a short-lived one. It was identified by Alois Alzheimer as a unique manifestation of dementia in 1906, a time when senile dementia had been made a popular topic by the likes of Freud. But what of all the time before the 20th century? Certainly people were suffering from AD and dementia long before the modern period. It could be argued that there were few cases of people afflicted with diseases associated with old age simply because they are not living to an old age. The typical onset of AD is around the age of 60, and the average worldwide lifespan did not reach 60 until recent times. The World Health Organization estimates that the average global life expectancy was 31 years in 1900—and below 50 years in wealthy, developed countries. So in 1906, when Alzheimer first outlined the disease, there is a chance that there had been relatively few cases that were noticed, let alone studied.

There were other factors leading to a lack of investigation into AD, assumptions made by scientists and complacency leading the pack. It was generally held that dementia was an.....read the whole article

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