There is still no cure for Alzheimer’s today, but we have learned that Alzheimer’s patients have a sense of fear and detachment that is incomprehensible to healthy individuals. It begins with a sense of loss, confusion and disorientation, and then proceeds to episodes of paranoia, often leading to drastic personality changes and death. Imagine feeling trapped in a glass box with no one but strangers speaking in foreign languages attending to your needs. Or worse, simply imagine the glass box.
On a positive note, new meds are continuously being discovered to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and I believe a cure is on the horizon. Studies are currently being made on the blood brain barrier which consists of a layer of cells that line the inner walls of the blood vessels of the brain. This barrier blocks the passage of toxins while allowing oxygen, sugar and other nutrients to the brain. If scientists can find a way to penetrate the blood brain block so that medications can pass directly to the affected portion of the brain, we may be able to dissolve the plaques and harness the disease. Amyloid beta proteins are responsible for the formation of plaques on the brain related to Alzheimer’s. However, these proteins are unable to cross the barrier unless they attach themselves to a much larger molecule known as RAGE (Receptor for Advanced Glycation End product) This process also reduces normal blood flow to the brain aggravating brain degeneration. By disabling the RAGE molecule through genetic engineering, it is possible that the damaging amyloid protein will be unable to anchor itself to the brain, thus preventing the dreaded disease.
Heredity also plays an important part in passing on the Alzheimer’s gene but I am hopeful that a cure will be found during the lifetime of my children.
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