Dementia is an umbrella term for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain, including devastating diseases like the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's disease and lesser-known forms of dementia like Lewy body dementia. Even stroke can cause dementia.
More than 5 million people in the U.S. alone are living with Alzheimer's, so there's a good chance you know someone affected by dementia. It can be very difficult to watch someone you love deal with symptoms of dementia, which often include memory loss and trouble with language, along with personality changes, delusions, agitation and less ability to solve problems or control their emotions. It's important to note that although dementia risk increases with age, it is not part of the normal aging process.
Researchers Remove Alzheimer's From Mice in Recent Study
A February 2018 study published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine had some particularly ground-breaking progress, too. After observing a specific enzyme (beta-secretase, or BACE1), researchers found that when they depleted that enzyme in mice:
- Alzheimer's-promoting (i.e., amyloid) plaques melted away
- Cognition improved
- Synaptic function was partially restored
"To our knowledge," says Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute's senior researcher Riqiang Yan, "this is the first observation of such a dramatic reversal of amyloid deposition in any study of Alzheimer's disease mouse models."
8 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Dementia
You may already know that avoiding processed foods, favoring a Mediterranean diet and exercisinglower your risk of dementia. There are other relatively simple, meaningful steps you could take to lower your risk, too.
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