Healthy Living

Alzheimer's 101: Past, Present, and Future

The exact cause of Alzheimer's is unknown

Researchers know what Alzheimer’s and dementia do to the brain and they know the symptoms, but they are still unsure the causes this disease that robs victims of their golden years.

Research on the aging brain is beginning to shed some light on why Alzheimer's strikes older people. Scientists are studying how age-related changes in the brain may cause harm to neurons and contribute to Alzheimer’s damage. Age-related changes include atrophy or the shrinking of different parts of the brain. Inflammation, production of free radicals or unstable molecules and the breakdown of energy within a cell (mitochondrial dysfunction) are only some of the causes.

Lifestyle, health, and environmental factors are being researched as some of the major contributors to Alzheimer’s. Researchers are trying to understand the connection between cognitive decline and other conditions, like stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.