By Peggy Parks
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Extra resources for Alzheimer's Disease
The researchers stated of Alzheimer’s that even though all people have amydisease and that loid circulating in their bloodstreams, in more than one diabetics there may be a toxicity between defective gene is the protein and higher-than-normal levinvolved. els of blood glucose. Heart disease and high blood pressure are also believed to be risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s. This was first discovered more than 20 years ago by a scientist named Larry Sparks, who was studying the brain tissue of people who had died.
R esearchers have identified distinct causes for numerous diseases. They know, for example, that influenza is caused by three strains of viruses, and malaria is a parasitic infection that is spread by the bite of certain mosquitoes. Smallpox, the only disease that has been eradicated throughout the world, originates with the variola virus. Many other diseases are also well understood, which is why they can now be prevented with vaccinations or cured with antibiotics or other medicines. Alzheimer’s, however, is nothing like any of those diseases.
Unlike the early-onset type, late-onset Alzheimer’s is not believed to be hereditary. So far, scientists have only identified one gene that could pose a risk for development of the disease, the apolipoprotein E gene, which is located on chromosome 19. The gene’s function is to provide instructions for a lipoprotein that helps carry cholesterol and other fats through the bloodstream and delivers them to the proper locations in the body for processing and use. Researchers have learned that the apolipoprotein E gene is associated with plaques in the brain tissue of some people with Alzheimer’s.