Alzheimer's Disease   

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease, a degenerative disease of the brain, is estimated to hit some 106 million of people by 2050, according to the report by the American Health Assistance Foundation.

Alzheimer's Alert

Most of us know at least one person living with Alzheimer's. Could you or someone you know be next? According to Dr Gary Small, a geriatric psychiatrist from the UCLA Centre on Aging, there are five red flags one should be alert to:
• Do you ask the same question over and over again?
• Do you put things in unusual place?
• Are you forgetting everyday things that you really should remember, like the words you want to say?
• Genetics. You have a 40-60 per cent increased risk of Alzheimer's if you parents have it.
• If you suffer from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, you are at a higher risk as all these conditions affect blood supply and reduce oxygenation to the brain.

People with Alzheimer's usually will face symptoms such as memory loss, personality change and impaired judgment. Mainly affecting older people, it firstly affects the brain areas that are responsible for memory and language. Until now, there is no single known cure for this disease. Drugs available mainly control the effects of the symptoms.

Plant-derived medicinal drugs are mainly from Ginkgo biloba, Common sage (Salvia officinalis) and Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). These botanical drugs acts against acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the enzyme that breaks down brain chemical receptor. In Alzheimer's patients, acetylcholine levels drops due to the excessive amounts of AchE. In 1994, the German government passed the sale of Ginkgo leaf extract. The active compound is ginkgolides, the plant's chemical that is neuroprotective and has cholinergic activities of the Alzheimer's disease mechanism.

Sage also can help fight Alzheimer's. This herb has long been used traditionally in Europe. Additionally, sage was reported to possess in-vitro cholinesterase inhibiting properties. It also said to enhance mnemonic performance and improve mood.

Lemon balm is another herb that could be the potentially answer for the search of Alzheimer's disease miracle drug. In a study conducted in 2003 on patients with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease stage, it was shown that M. officinalis can be useful against the disease. 


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