Who Discovered Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer as he first discovered this disease in 1906. He observed strange alterations in the brain tissue of a woman who had died because of a bizarre mental illness. She showed symptoms such as language problems, loss of memory, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, Dr. Alzheimer studied and analyzed her brain and discovered a lot of unnatural clumps, which are now termed as amyloid plaques, and knotty bunches of fibers, now termed as neurofibrillary. These amyloid plaques and fibers in the brain are known to be some of the key features of Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of the brain which eventually leads to memory loss and loss of cognitive abilities. One should know that this disease is not a part of aging in spite of the fact that the biggest risk factor is getting old as globally maximum numbers of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years of age and above. However, approximately 5% of people show early indications of Alzheimer’s which is called younger-onset and it happens when an individual is in their 40s or 50s.

What are the Drugs and how they work!

The brain has neurons which link and communicate at synapses, and neurotransmitters take information from one cell to another. In a patient who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, this entire process gets disrupted and eventually damaging the brain’s communication network.

There is no definite cure for Alzheimer’s disease; the drugs available in the market can only momentarily slowdown the deterioration of symptoms and enhance the quality of life for the patient as well as the on their caretakers. In order to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sanctioned and approved five medicaments such as – Donepezil (for all stages), Galantamine (for mild to moderate cases), Memantine (for moderate to acute cases), Rivastigmine (for all stages), and Donepezil and Memantine together (for acute cases).

 

The FDA approved drugs helps the brain’s communication network is two different chemical mechanisms, like:

 

Cholinesterase inhibitors help in slowing down the progression of a braking down act of the chief neurotransmitter. Galantamine, Donepezil and Rivastigmine are cholinesterase inhibitors. On the other hand, Memantine is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-receptor antagonist; which works by arresting and blocking the extra activity of glutamate (a substance in the brain). This in return may lessen the symptoms liked with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Lastly, with the increasing geriatric population, the percentage of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is predicted to increase rapidly in the future and more than 50% of the overall populations suffering from this disease are in the United States.