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Major Milestones in Finding a Cure
1906 Alzheimers Discovered

Dr Alois Alzheimer describes the case of his patient Auguste D., who suffered from profound memory loss and deteriorating psychological changes. On autopsy, dramatic brain shrinkage and other abnormalities are discovered.

1910 Disease Named

Emil Kraepelin, a colleague of Dr. Alzheimer, first names "Alzheimers Disease" in his publication entitled 'Psychiatrie'.

1931 The Electron Microscope

With the invention of the electron microscope, scientists begin to study the brain in more detail.

1968 Cognitive Measuring Standards

The first validated measurement scale for assessing cognitive functional decline established.

1974 National Institute on Aging Founded

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is established in support of Alzheimer research

what is

ALZHEIMER DISEASE

Alzheimer Disease

Alzheimer disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that over time leads to memory loss, learning difficulties, and changes in normal behavior. Alzheimer disease accounts for 50-80% of age-dependent dementias, a general term used to describe various diseases and conditions that damage brain cells, among older adults. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, learning, remembering, and reasoning—and changes in behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.

In sporadic forms of Alzheimer disease, symptoms first appear between 65 and 85 years of age. In familial forms, onset can occur as early as the 30’s and 40’s. As the disease progresses, individuals undergo a declining ability to cope with everyday life. Mental decline in Alzheimer disease is first apparent with loss of cognitive and functional abilities; a person’s ability to understand, learn, think, remember and communicate will begin to decline. Emotions and inhibitions then become affected; a person may appear apathetic and lose interest in favorite hobbies. Some people become less expressive and withdrawn. Behavioral changes will become apparent; a person may have reactions that seem out of character. Some common reactions include repeating the same action or words, hiding possessions, physical outbursts and restlessness. Furthermore, physical abilities can also decline; the disease can affect a person’s coordination and mobility, to the point of affecting their ability to function in normal daily activities.

Lucy's Story

"I lost my father to Alzheimer Disease and it tore me apart. Now that I'm older with a family of my own, I never want my loved ones to lose me in the same way. That's why I donate to finding a cure."

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1980 Alzheimers Association Founded

Jerome H. Stone meets with the NIH and helps form a nonprofit organization dedicated to Alzheimer Disease.

1984 Beta-amyloid Identified

Researchers George Glenner and Cai'ne Wong identify a protein known as a beta-amyloid, the main component in Alzheimer brain plaque and suspect for nerve cell damage.

1986 Tau Protein Identified

Researchers discover a key component of tangles - the tau protein, bringing further understanding of nerve cell degeneration.

1987 First Gene Identified & First Drug Trials

The first clinical trials of tacrine, a drug specifically targeting symptoms of Alzheimer Disease, begins.

1993 First Risk Factor Gene Identified

Researchers identify the first gene on chromosome 21 that is associated with a rare form of inherited Alzheimer Disease, bringing them closer to finding a cure.

1999 Mouse Vaccine Success

The first of many reports is published describing that injections of beta-amyloid in transgenic "Alzheimer" mice prevents the animals from developing brain plaques and other brain changes associated with Alzheimer Disease.

2004 Report On Pittsburgh Compound B

At the Alzheimers Association International Conference on Alzheimers Disease, researchers report on an imaging agent called Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB). PIB enters the brain through the bloodstream and attaches itself to beta-amyloid deposits, where it can be detected by positron emission tomography (PET). This major breakthrough assists in the monitoring and early detection of Alzheimer Disease.

2015 MARC Founded

The Montreal Alzheimer Research for a Cure is founded. The Jewish General Hospital and the Neuro, two world renown centres of research, have joined together with the mission of finding a cure to Alzheimer Disease.

Symptoms Of Alzheimer Disease

The symptoms of Alzheimer disease often come on slowly. It starts with trouble recalling recent events or putting thoughts into words. Over time, the problems worsen, resulting in people in the later stages of the disease requiring help in caring for themselves. There are three main phases of Alzheimer disease: mild, moderate, and severe. Each stage has its own set of symptoms.

Mild Alzheimer disease

The first stage usually lasts from 2 to 4 years. The symptoms include:

Moderate Alzheimer disease

This is when memory loss gets worse and starts to cause problems in daily life. This stage can last from 2 to 10 years. The symptoms include:

At this stage, people can become more aware that they are losing control of their lives, which can result in increased frustration and/or depression.

Severe Alzheimer disease

The third stage, also known as late Alzheimer disease, is the most severe. It typically lasts 1 to 3 years. The symptoms include:

Causes And Risk Factors

Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer disease in most people. In people with early-onset Alzheimer disease, a genetic mutation in a protein of the brain is inherited from one parent and causes the disease. There is also one confirmed genetic risk factor (Apolipoprotein E4 gene) and several novel genetic risk factors involved in brain inflammation under study that associated with Alzheimer disease.

Late-onset Alzheimer disease arises from a complex series of brain changes that occur over decades. The causes probably include a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The importance of any one of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer disease may differ from person to person. Scientists have identified factors that increase the risk of sporadic Alzheimer disease. The most important risk factors are non-modifiable - age, family history and genetics (heredity) – these are risk factors that can't be changed. Emerging evidence suggests there may be other factors that can influence the disease and these are referred to as modifiable risk factors: diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, depression, cognitive inactivity or low education, and physical inactivity.

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