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The role of macronutrients and micronutrients in Alzheimer's disease - Research Paper Example

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. As the global population ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is rising. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and its related healthcare costs and implications on quality of life are huge…
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The role of macronutrients and micronutrients in Alzheimer's disease

Download file to see previous pages... Finding preventions for Alzheimer’s, and slowing the rate of its progression, is therefore to be of immense medical benefit. Several macronutrients and micronutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. While saturated fats, heavy alcohol consumption, and high plasma homocysteine levels are associated with increased risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, other nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C, E, and B12, and folate are considered to be neuroprotective against Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of this research is to determine the role of these micronutrients and macronutrients in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Introduction Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide. It occurs mainly in the elderly. Its prevalence varies from about 3% in people of 65 years age, to almost 50% of people above 85 years of age (Martin, 2003). The pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease involves accumulation of neuronal proteins that leads to neurotoxicity, particularly at synaptic junctions (Alzheimer's Association, 2012). Over the years, this toxicity leads to loss of synapses and then neuronal cell death, leading to progressive decline in mental function with age. Many risk factors such as genetic mutations, family history, advancing age, and previous brain injury are known to be associated with the disease. Social engagement and dietary factors have been proposed to play a role in the pathophysiology (Alzheimer's Association, 2012). Use of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids has also been suggested to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. However, the role of specific nutrients in preventing Alzheimer’s, or slowing its progression, have not been adequately established (Morris, 2009). The purpose of this research is to investigate the potential role of macronutrients and micronutrients in the prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease, and to explore whether any nutrients can have a positive or negative effect on its development. The main hypothesis of this research is that there is a strong positive relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and nutrition. This research should help provide more perspective on how Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented, and how its management can be improved, by using or avoiding nutrients. Discussion Background of Alzheimer’s disease ‘Dementia’ is defined under the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition as a decline in higher mental functions, which specifically includes memory and one other cognitive feature such as speech, movement execution, abstract thinking, or judgment (Alzheimer's Association, 2012). Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for 60 to 80% of dementia cases, and is globally the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease initially manifests as mild memory impairment by forgetting names or details of recent events. The symptom severity gradually worsens with time, so that the patient is unable to complete familiar tasks, confuses times and places, and show poor judgment. This eventually leads to personality changes, confusion, and social withdrawal. In late stages, patients need help with basic activities such as eating, taking a bath, and dressing, and later become mute, unable to walk, or swallow. They require daily nursing care and help with shopping, meals, transportation and grooming. Alzheimer’s patients who live alone, without access to a paid or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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