Alzheimer: A Forgotten Pathogen

A huge amount of evidence has implicated amyloid-beta peptides and other derivatives of the amyloid precursor protein as central to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It is also widely recognized that age is the most important risk factor for AD and that the innate immune system plays a role in the development of neurodegeneration. Ageing is characteristically accompanied by a shift within innate immunity towards a pro‐inflammatory status. A disturbed balance between the production and the degradation of Amyloid-beta peptides can trigger chronic inflammatory processes in microglial cells and astrocytes and thus initiate a vicious circle. This leads to a perpetuation of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of ageing. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease

Development of Alzheimer in Humans

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common dementia form of old age. Currently, approximately 13 million people worldwide suffer from this disorder. AD is the most comprehensively studied neurodegenerative disease and in the last 15 years it has become increasingly clear that the degeneration of neurons is connected with a dysregulation in the metabolism of beta-amyloid precursor protein with a consequent transient overproduction or decreased degradation of beta-amyloid in the brain

The ageing of adaptive immunity has been profoundly studied in recent years. Considerably less information is available on how ageing affects the innate immune system. However, there are clear indications that age‐related changes within the innate immune system may influence the development of age‐related neurodegenerative disorders such as AD and vice versa that age‐related degenerative changes can modulate innate immunity.


Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains change as we age. Most of us eventually notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems with remembering certain things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work may be a sign that brain cells are failing.

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information because Alzheimer’s changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer’s advances through the brain, it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behaviour changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behaviour changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.


In 1906, German physician Dr Alois Alzheimer first described “a peculiar disease” — one of profound memory loss and microscopic brain changes — a disease we now know as Alzheimer’s.

Today, Alzheimer’s is at the forefront of biomedical research. Researchers are working to uncover as many aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as possible. Some of the most remarkable progress has shed light on how Alzheimer’s affects the brain. The hope is this better understanding will lead to new treatments. Many potential approaches are currently under investigation worldwide. 

Possible Cure

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or a way to stop or slow its progression, there are drug and non-drug options that may help treat symptoms but they may have other side-effects. Understanding available options can help individuals living with the disease and their caregivers to cope with symptoms and improve their quality of life.

After a decade-long process, Cambridge-based biotech company Biogen has shepherded what experts say may be the “first real treatment” for Alzheimer’s disease to the Food and Drug Administration’s door. It’s called aducanumab. In Biogen’s clinical trials, which was a huge mountain task and received some mixed results, participants who got the treatment were able to retain their memory and perform everyday tasks for longer than those who got the placebo drug.

With improved Science and Technology, The world is advancing towards a cure for every disease known in the world from cancer to Alzheimer, Coming 5 years will be the most important and vital years which we can see a lot of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer having a cure.


Featured Image Credits:

Aadin Zeeshan

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