What Exactly Does Alzheimer’s Do To The Brain?

Plus other Alzheimer’s FAQs.

What exactly does Alzheimer’s do to the brain?

“Alzheimer’s can be seen under a microscope as plaques and tangles of abnormal proteins in the brain.”

What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

“Short-term memory loss, often diagnosed as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), represents a transition phase to dementia and may not necessarily progress. A patient with MCI usually tests normally on basic cognitive testing and can function normally in terms of activities of daily living with a few reminders. As the condition progresses, other areas of cognition become affected, in addition to memory—language, problem-solving, planning—and this leads to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.”

What is the correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and Alzheimer’s?

“It’s intriguing and alarming that Vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor, since Vitamin D deficiency is extremely prevalent in the United States now. However, it is important to remember that the association does not mean that Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of disease. In the meantime, it’s a good idea for us to check Vitamin D levels in all patients to maintain adequate levels.”

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What else can people do to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s?

“Patients with Alzheimer’s do better with more physical exercise, and that those who are more mentally active have more ‘cognitive reserve.’ I encourage my elderly patients to remain cognitively stimulated and to exercise regularly, and I refer patients to the Alzheimer Association’s website, www.alz.org, for information and support groups.” 

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