Acetycholine- finding a cure to Alzheimer's?

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In chapter 3, one key topic that struck me was learning about acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in arousal, selective attention, sleep, and memory. When someone has Alzheimer's disease, these transmitters are getting destroyed. They have had medication that can alleviate some of the symptoms, but can that lead to a pathway of treatment, or at least, prevention?

This struck me because my grandma has Alzheimer's. Although it is still the early stages of the disease, I am really interested in anything that can help. But so many questions still remain; if they could find a cure, would it reverse the effects? Or would the patient still have some memory loss? Is there specific activities that can boost acetylcholine production in the brain? And are we moving towards a cure, or just prevention?

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It is an interesting idea, we can slow symptoms but we can't prevent it. I have the same questions as you, how can this be? I have no clue on the matter but I'm guessing that if there is a way to slow the symptoms, we are on the right track to prevention. In terms of reversing the process, I don't see how that would be possible. I believe once the damage is done its done and there is nothing we can do about it.

Yes, once the damage is done it cannot be reversed. The cells are destroyed. But, I do believe that we can find a cure that would completely halt Alzheimers, instead of just slowing it down. However, would there be a way to test solutions on animals, or would we have to use human subjects? Which is another debate in itself. I am sorry that your Grandmother has this disease, I hope that scientists are able to find a cure before we reach old age.

There was a popular movie about a young, beautiful woman who loses her memory because of Alzheimer’s in South Korea eight years ago. Recently there was a TV drama also about a young woman, who was in her thirties, loses her memory because of Alzheimer’s. Both were successful and this suggests that many people are interested in Alzheimer’s. Although we are aiming to learn psychology as a scientific study, which doesn’t rely on guessing, I dare say that the reason of this success is maybe because people are concerned about having the disease. I am also interested in Alzheimer’s. However, your writing seems to suggest that the decrease of acetylcholine is the cause of the disease. It is true that the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s have low acetylcholine, but this could be a symptom rather than the cause. We learned Correlation vs. Causation principle and to know the ways to prevent the disease it is first required to know the cause of the problem. Alzheimer’s causing substances seem to be amyloid-beta42, cox-2, and enzyme Caspase-3.

There was a popular movie about a young, beautiful woman who loses her memory because of Alzheimer’s in South Korea eight years ago. Recently there was a TV drama also about a young woman, who was in her thirties, loses her memory because of Alzheimer’s. Both were successful and this suggests that many people are interested in Alzheimer’s. Although we are aiming to learn psychology as a scientific study, which doesn’t rely on guessing, I dare say that the reason of this success is maybe because people are concerned about having the disease. I am also interested in Alzheimer’s. However, your writing seems to suggest that the decrease of acetylcholine is the cause of the disease. It is true that the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s have low acetylcholine, but this could be a symptom rather than the cause. We learned Correlation vs. Causation principle and to know the ways to prevent the disease it is first required to know the cause of the problem. Alzheimer’s causing substances seem to be amyloid-beta42, cox-2, and enzyme Caspase-3.

According to Mayo Clinic, some proposed prevention tips include: "avoid smoking, eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits and lean protein ( particularly protein sources containing omega-3 fatty acids), be physically and socially active, and taking care of your mental health" (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-prevention/AN02099). It says that these are not definitive methods of causation, and they mostly just promote good health overall. I don't know if these methods would increase acetylcholine production or just slow down the destruction of the neurotransmitters. Studies show Alzheimer's is quite genetic, so most prevention would just be a slow down method. This disease is one that seems to scare people a lot because loss of memory and brain function is very personal. My great-grandpa had Alzheimer's, and now one of his sons, my great uncle, doesn't bother with trying to stay physically active because he said he doesn't want to live to the age where he would get Alzheimer's and end up dying in a nursing home like his father.

According to the Mayo Clinic, these are some possibilities of prevention through: “Avoiding smoking, eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits and lean protein, particularly protein sources containing omega-3 fatty acids, being physically and socially active, and taking care of your mental health” (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-prevention/AN02099). These tips are mostly for overall health. As it applies to Alzheimer’s, I don’t know if these methods would increase acetylcholine production or slow down its destruction. Alzheimer’s has been shown to be quite genetic, so most likely any “prevention” would be just slowing it down enough so that the symptoms don’t really show up during the person’s life. Alzheimer’s can be a disease that is very scary because memory loss and memory function decrease are very personal things. My great grandpa had Alzheimer’s, and now one of his sons, my great uncle, doesn’t seem to care about being physically active because he says he doesn’t want to live long enough for Alzheimer’s to set in (if he has it, he doesn’t know) or die in a nursing home, like his father.

This post was very interesting to me as Alzheimer's has always fascinated me. It is a very sad disease that effects many and the chance that there may be a cure or prevention from it is incredible. We are able to slow down the process of Alzheimer's but aren't able to fully cure it or prevent it from occurring in the first place. Because we are able to slow it down hopefully we can grow from that and fully develop a cure for Alzheimer's.

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This page contains a single entry by hasse165 published on February 5, 2012 10:43 AM.

Nature vs. nurture; is it logical to choose one over the other? was the previous entry in this blog.

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