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.
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
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.