Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating illness, not only for the person suffering from it, but the friends, family, and loved ones of the individual as well.
The slow decline of mental functioning, memory, and personality can leave all involved with deep feelings of grief, loss, confusion, and even depression. However, recent discoveries of genes linked to Alzheimer’s offer insight into its causes – and possibly, its eventual cure.
Little is known about the true cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Also known as dementia, the disease results in memory impairment, a loss of brain function, and problems with language, decision-making, judgment, and personality changes.
Generally, the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age, and often, the individual requires a family member or facility’s care. For families of people with dementia, the transition into this caretaking role can be extremely difficult.
Children who end up taking care of their parents can experience high levels of stress, and may feel overwhelmed by their parent’s needs.
With the discovery of these genes, scientists and researchers now have new insight into the causes of Alzheimer’s. While this unfortunately does not affect the prognosis for patients currently living with the disease, it does open up many opportunities to possible treatments than can be developed in the future.
The gene discoveries – published in Nature Genetics – confirm a suspected correlation between Alzheimer’s and cholesterol, cell transport, and inflammation. [You can read more about the article here].
These discoveries doubled the pool of known genes affecting the disorder. While doctors are clear in stressing that this does not yet benefit patients, any additional insight into the causes of Alzheimer’s brings science one step closer to helping those suffering from the disease.
The new discoveries open up the potential for quicker diagnosis, slowing the disease’s progression, and someday, perhaps discovering the way to end Alzheimer’s.
Families of people with Alzheimer’s often find the role of caretaker very difficult. They may experience stress, depression, anxiety, and grief as they adjust to this new role in their lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with caring for an ill parent or family member, there is hope. Contact us today at (516) 221-9494 for more information.