Over 5 million people currently suffer from the Alzheimer’s disease. Statistics estimate that 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 years are affected by it. The disease process takes approximately 8-10 years to work from detection to death. It starts out slowly as two abnormal protein fragments called ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ accumulate in the brain, consistently killing off brain cells.
The ‘plaques’ are formed when sticky protein pieces called ‘amyloid-beta’ (sometimes called “beta-amyloid’) clump together to form the plaques. The tangles are formed when there is an abnormal accumulation of a protein called tau. When tau builds up it detaches from microtubules and clumps with other tau proteins. These clumps build up into threads that eventually become ‘tangles’ inside neurons, which block the neurons in the brain from synaptic communication.
The plaques and tangles begin accumulating in the hippocampus area of the brain, which affects memory, and then they work their way into the brain’s language center, making it difficult to instantly bring up appropriate words. Slowly, these abnormal protein fragments spread into all other parts of the brain, finally reaching the brain center that controls breathing and the heart, thereby causing death.Read more