What we Know

About Alzheimer's today

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that damages and destroys brain cells, leading to loss of memory, changes in thinking and the decline of other brain functions. It typically develops slowly and gradually gets worse as brain cells die and brain function declines. Ultimately, Alzheimer’s is fatal and there is currently no cure. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and the only disease of the top 10 causes of death that currently cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. Research has revealed the following disease-related changes in documented cases of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Beta-amyloid Plaques: form intricate barriers that disrupt the normal functionality of brain cells.
  • Inflammation: initiated by the body’s immune system
  • Tangles: twisted microscopic strands of Tau protein
  • Loss of connections among brain cells which are responsible for memory, learning and communication. These connections, or synapses, transmit information from cell to cell.
  • Subsequent death of brain cells and acute tissue shrinkage
Current research is underway to further determine what triggers this cascade of events, and to develop drug therapies to reverse or slow the progression of these hallmarks of the disease.

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