By | Pinkvilla Desk | www.pinkvilla.com
These days, many of us tend to lose touch with family and friends due to our hectic lifestyles. Imagine how it would be if the nerve cells in our brain lose touch with each other in a similar manner! We would possibly not be able to form a link between objects, people and their names, or even perform simple day-to-day activities.
This is typically what happens in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This neurodegenerative disease is caused by the progressive loss of nerve cells and impaired interconnections due to the accumulation of unwanted proteins in the brain (tau/amyloid). Over time, different areas of the brain begin to shrink. Accumulation of these deposits might begin from the 4th or 5th decade of life of an individual and gradually lead to symptoms at a later age. Recent research has focused on an “unfolded protein response” in cases of Alzheimer’s disease, which in simple terms can be described as an aberrant response that is not protective.
Activation of this response has been linked to age and accumulation of the aforementioned unwanted proteins. Despite knowledge regarding these mechanisms, we still do not know what exactly triggers this disease. It could be due to some genetic mutation, obesity, other neurological conditions, trauma, lifestyle habits and many more. Therefore, it is difficult to prevent or even predict who or when a person will acquire the condition!
Furthermore, currently, there is no definitive drug or conventional therapy that can treat or even halt the progression of the condition. This means that families tend to see their loved ones deteriorate over time, both physically and psychologically—sometimes to the extent that they do not remember their spouse or children OR even how to brush their teeth! Sounds very depressing, doesn’t it?
Worry not, there is a new branch of medical science—Regenerative Medicine and Cell-based Therapy, which is reaching newer heights with each passing day in the treatment of various diseases.