What Causes Alzheimer’s?
According to the National Institute on Aging, "Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but it is clear that it develops because of a complex series of events that take place in the brain over a long period of time.
It is likely that the causes include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Because people differ in their genetic make-up and lifestyle, the importance of these factors for preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s differs from person to person.
Scientists are conducting studies to learn more about plaques, tangles, and other features of Alzheimer’s disease. They can now visualize plaques by imaging the brains of living individuals. They are also exploring the very earliest steps in the disease process. Findings from these studies will help them understand the causes of Alzheimer’s.
One of the great mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease is why it largely strikes older adults. Research on how the brain changes normally with age is shedding light on this question.
For example, scientists are learning how age-related changes in the brain may harm neurons and contribute to Alzheimer’s damage. These age-related changes include atrophy (shrinking) of certain parts of the brain, inflammation, and the production of unstable molecules called free radicals. "
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