Alzheimer's disease is one of the common forms of senile dementia. For many years this disease was thought to be incurable. But the recent study of the scientists from Harvard Stem Cells Institute showed that Alzheimer’s disease may be treated with the help of stem cells.
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Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common diseases nowadays. According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, there are about 47 million of people who have this disease. The World Health Organization expects that by 2030 this figure will increase to 75 million, and by 2050 this figure may even double.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is expressed in disability to remember new information. This disease is associated with loss of neurons and their connections in the brain. Usually the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease is protracted; it starts with the impairment of memory and orientation. This disease may lead to the appearance of mental problems and change of personality. In some years after the disease started people often lose the ability to perform routine tasks themselves and, thus, they need someone to help them. Moreover, they usually cannot recognize their relatives and friends. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease begin to lose their individuality.
The disease gradually destroys the brain of a person who has it. A person, at first, loses all human qualities, then instincts, and in the end dies due to the damage of the brain that is incompatible with life. The slow course of the disease at the initial stage is explained by the fact that partially neurons manage to be replaced by new cells from the reserve. But, having exhausted the reserve, the brain begins to collapse rapidly, as there is nothing to replace the dead neurons.
The risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease increases with age. 10% of people who are over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease and about 50% of people over 85. But sometimes people have this disease when they are younger than even 65. Scientists say that it happens because of genetic mutations that lead to the destruction of neurons and their connections in the brain of a person.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Usually, the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease begins at a late stage, because at an early stage the symptoms of the disease are considered to be the manifestation of their old age. Unfortunately today this disease cannot be cured. The doctors prescribe to take special medicines to people with Alzheimer’s disease that can slow down its development.
Medicines that are used to slow down the development of the disease are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs increase concentration of acetylcholine in the brain tissue; it is a neurotransmitter that the brain lacks.
In addition, at an early stage of the disease, antidepressants are prescribed if there are the signs of depression.
The specialists also recommend doing things that are interesting for a person with the disease.
Stem cells treatment
Stem cells have led to a real revolution in medicine. These cells are the precursors of all other cells in the body. They accumulate in that part of the body where they are needed and have an ability to change into the cells of the tissue that is damaged or injured. Stem cells that are taken from the patient’s bone marrow can replace the cells of the liver, brain, myocardium, neurons, fat cells and skin.
Usually stem cells for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are taken from patient’s bone marrow in the amount of about 200 ml. Then stem cells are distinguished and grown in a laboratory. After this, the stem cells are inserted into the cerebrospinal fluid, because it flows in both a bone marrow and a brain. Inserted stem cells in their turn should replace the damaged neurons.
Alzheimer’s disease can be called the most common disease of nowadays. For many years people have died because of this disease, but today we have a hope that finally the scientists have found the way to treat it. Still, the influence of stem cells has not been studied completely, and researchers need some more time to understand their effect.