ENG 101 Alzheimer Cause & Effect research paper
ENG 101 Alzheimer Cause & Effect research paper
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Date Created: 11/06/15
page 1 Alzheimer s disease a neurodegenerative brain disease is the most common cause of dementia This disease is named for German physician Alois Alzheimer who first diagnosed it in the early twentieth century Approximately 53 million Americans are living with this progressive and lethal brain disease and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States Alzheimer39s Association Over the past one hundred years researchers have discovered several internal or biological sources of Alzheimer s disease such as genetic mutations or possible viralbacterial causes The researchers have investigated external or environmental causes of Alzheimer s disease such as the levels of nitrites nitrates and aluminum found in the autopsied brains of Alzheimer patients German physician Alois Alzheimer discovered a collection of brain cell anomalies associated with dementia but not exactly the same as in dementia patients During an autopsy on a former patient he revealed dense deposits surrounding nerve cells neuritic plaques Inside those nerve cells were twisted bands of fibers neurofibrillary tangles American Health Assistance Foundation In the 1960 s scientists discovered a link between cognitive decline and plaques and tangles in the brain Alzheimer s was recognized as a disease and not just a normal part of aging In the 1970 s Alzheimer s disease emerge as a significant area of research interest as the understanding of the human body expanded In the 1990 s scientists made important discoveries and gained a better understanding of the complex nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer s patients Research on susceptible genes and several drugs were approved to treat the cognitive symptoms In the last decade significant progress has been made in understanding potential environmental genetic and other risk factors that might promote Alzheimer s disease Scientists are discovering how plaques and tangles form in the brain and specific genes related to page 2 earlyonset and lateonset forms of Alzheimer s Unfortunately Alzheimer s is still incurable American Health Assistance Foundation Earlyonset Alzheimer s disease affects only about 5 percent of all Alzheimer s sufferers and caused by a genetic mutation Some cases of earlyonset AD called familial AD FAD are inherited FAD is caused by a number of different gene mutations on chromosomes 21 14 and l and each of these mutations causes abnormal proteins to be formed Mutations on chromosome 21 cause the formation of abnormal amyloid precursor protein APP A mutation on chromosome 14 causes abnormal presenilin l to be made and a mutation on chromosome 1 leads to abnormal presenilin 2 Even if only one of these mutated genes is inherited from a parent the person will almost always develop earlyonset AD This inheritance pattern is referred to as autosomal dominant inheritance In other words offspring in the same generation have a 5050 chance of developing FAD if one of their parents had it US National Institutes of Health Lateonset Alzheimer s disease is not caused by the genetic mutations found in earlyonset Alzheimer s Instead a gene found on chromosome 19 seems to be the cause of lateonset AD This gene is called the apolipoprotein E APOE gene Which contains the blueprints needed to make a protein that helps carry cholesterol in the bloodstream The APOE 4 allele forms of a page 3 gene increases the risk of developing Alzheimer s disease Scientists believe there are more riskfactor genes that could contribute to a person developing Alzheimer s disease US National Institutes of Health Does a virus or bacteria cause Alzheimer s disease Some scientists theorize that a dormant virus could be a cause of Alzheimer s disease Herpes simplex virus 1 HSVl is the virus that causes cold sores on the lips People With the APOE4 apoliprotein E4 gene and the HSVl virus are threetimes more at risk of developing Alzheimer s disease Currently no other virus has been determined to be a risk factor for Alzheimer s Some researcher believe a strain of the Chlamydia bacteria may be a risk factor but a followup study of this did not produce any conclusive evidence to prove this theory as true np In addition to internal or biological causes some scientists are doing research into environmental causes of Alzheimer s disease One such area of research focuses on the levels of Nitrites and Nitrates that are ingested through food and water supplies Nitrites and nitrates are chemical compounds that have been found harmful to animals and humans Nitrates are linked to increased deaths from diseases including Alzheimer s diabetes and Parkinson s Nitrates found in fertilizers get into the food and water supplies by leeching from soil and contaminated water supplies used for crop irrigation and food production Nitrates are found in many food products such as bacon cured meats and cheese products as well as beer and water Sodium nitrite is deliberately added to meats and fish to prevent toxin production and to preserve color and avor meats Jean Nitrosamines basically become highly reactive at the cellular level Which then alters gene expression and causes DNA damage page 4 The researchers note that the role of nitrosamines has been well studied and their role as a carcinogen has been fully documented The investigators propose that the cellular alterations that occur as a result of nitrosamine exposure are fundamentally similar to those that occur with aging as well as Alzheimer s Parkinson s and Type 2 diabetes mellitus Because nitrosamines produce biochemical changes within cells and tissues it is conceivable that chronic exposure to low levels of nitrites and nitrosamines through processed foods water and fertilizers is responsible for the current epidemics of these diseases and the increasing mortality rates associated with them Jean Another environmental concern being researched is the possible link between aluminum and Alzheimer s disease Some researchers claim that aluminum found in common products such as antiperspirants antacids tea and medications may lead to people developing Alzheimer s disease However further studies have revealed that although traces of aluminum have been found in the autopsied brains of Alzheimer s patients there is no conclusive evidence that the aluminum actually caused the disease Alzheimer39s Society Further studies of this possible link between aluminum and Alzheimer s disease are needed Although significant advances have been made in understanding and treating Alzheimer s disease within the last onehundred years there is still a lot of speculation into the exact causes Due to the complexity of the human brain further research is required to understand what causes a person to develop Alzheimer s disease and to find a cure The more definitive evidence points page 5 to biological causes being the culprit of developing Alzheimer s disease whereas the researches into the environmental causes appear to be more hypothetical and need more studies conducted Interview Works Cited Alzheimer39s Association Alzheimer39s Facts and Figures 10 April 2010 7 April 2010 lthttpalzorgalzheimersdiseasefactsfiguresaspgt Alzheimer39s Society quotAluminum and Alzheimer39s diseasequot September 2008 Alzheimer39s m 7 April 2010 lthttpalzheimersorguksitescriptsdocumentsinfophp categoryID200137ampdocumentID99amppageNumber1gt American Health Assistance Foundation Alzheimer39s Disease Research 16 December 2009 7 April 2010 lthttpwwwahaforgalzheimersaboutunderstandinghistoryhtmlgt Interview Self Interview 11 April 2010 Jean Nancy Cawley quotResearchers find possible Environmental causes for Alzheimer39s Diseasequot 5 July 2009 Eurekalert 4 April 2010 lthttpwwweurekalertorgpubreleases200907lrfp070109phpgt np Alzheimer39s Solutions nd 3 April 2010 lthttpalzheimersolutionsstoresyahoonetcauseshtmlgt US National Institutes of Health quotAlzheimer39s Disease Genetics Fact Sheetquot November 2008 National Institute on Aging 5 April 2010 lthttpwwwnianihgovAlzheimersPublicationsgeneticsfshtmgt page 6
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