As we write, a terrible disease is sweeping across the world. In the UK alone there are 209 600 new cases per year. One in 14 of people over 65 are sufferers. Readers in any country in the world will soon find comparable statistics. ** To kick you off, our first two links for Alzheimers/Dementia stats are listed below.
To cure any disease you have to be really sure of the right cause. The arrival of the germ theory of disease, pioneered by people like Semmelweis, Pasteur and Koch was a quantum game changer for the treatment of infectious diseases. Sadly, the cause of Alzheimers is still up for discussion.
Writing in the Independent, Christian Holscher* gives us a neat summary- it is clearly associated with the aggregation of two proteins called amyloid and tau in our nervous systems. But are these the cause-or just an effect? Christian thinks the protein problems may be caused by changes in insulin levels, and that Parkinson’s terrible disease may be involved as well.
Meanwhile, over at New Scientist Debora Mackenzie goes for a fascinatingly different line. It’s all about cleaning your teeth! Several groups of researchers are now actively pursuing the theory that the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, associated with gum disease, may be invading the brain tissues. It’s these inflammations which may lead to Alzheimers/ Dementia. As you would expect from good ol’ NS, it’s well written, chatty but never ever frivolous and so a real good read if you like science writing.
But what did we say about keeping an open mind and considering all the evidence? The NHS website lists a lot of factors including genetic, cardiovascular and a few more for good measure. The NHS has always been a comfort for many, let’s hope our friends on the right don’t send it the same way as the BBC!
The point of all this is that Alzheimers is an epidemic of terrifying proportion which makes COVID-19 look like an outbreak of food poisoning on a Benidorm Bank Holiday. It’ll be around long after Covid-19 is in the history books. And we still don’t know why.
We thank Mr Lindsay Charlton of Kent for this story
Alzheimer’s research UK
Incidence in the UK and globally | Dementia Statistics Hub
here’s a US organization
Alzheimer’s Association | Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Help
We have the cause of Alzheimer’s all wrong, says neuroscientist | The Independent | The Independent
Gum disease may be the cause of Alzheimer’s – here’s how to avoid it | New Scientist
We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it | New Scientist
Alzheimer’s disease – Causes – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
#covid-19 #dementia #alzheimers p.gingivalis #insulin