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Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that occurs in the later years of life. People with Alzheimer's disease develop progressive loss of memory and gradually lose the ability to function and to take care of themselves.
The cause of this disorder is not known, although the problem appears to involve abnormal breakdown of acetylcholine (an important neurotransmitter in the brain). Some studies suggest it may be related to an accumulation of aluminum in the brain.1 Despite this suggestion, aluminum toxicity has been studied in humans, and it is quite distinct from Alzheimer’s disease.2 Therefore, the importance of aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s disease remains an unresolved issue.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include a pattern of forgetfulness, short attention span, difficulty in performing routine tasks, language problems, disorientation, poor judgment, problems with thinking, misplacing things, depression, irritability, paranoia, hostility, and lack of initiative.
Keeping active outside of one’s work, either physically or mentally, during midlife may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. People with higher levels of non-occupational activities, such as playing a musical instrument, gardening, physical exercise, or even playing board games, were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s later in life, according to one study.3
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2017.