Assauer is dead: A million Germans suffer from Alzheimer’s – how you can prevent

Rudi Assauer has died at the age of 74 years. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s. In Germany, approximately 1.7 million people with dementia live, most of them suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. But why do some people get Alzheimer’s disease? And how can we prevent it?

For years now, Schalke has suffered legend Rudi Assauer Alzheimer’s disease. Just like his older brother, Lothar, who died in 2013 due to the consequences of the disease. Doctors speak of a familial Alzheimer’s Form, when it is within a family of multiple Affected. Alzheimer’s is a Form of dementia, more and more people are suffering. About 60 to 70 percent of all Affected (1.7 million Germans) of developing Alzheimer’s dementia.

"Every 100 seconds someone is Demenz&quot ill in Germany;, Monika Kraus, Chairman of the Alzheimer’s society says. Their current Figures show that every year more than 300,000 new cases occur.

If there is no breakthrough in the prevention and therapy succeeds, it will increase according to the calculations of the population development of the hospital up to the year 2050 to around three million. This corresponds to an average increase in the number of cases by more than 100 per day. German Alzheimer’s Society

There are many types of dementia

Those with dementia often don’t know what you do and why you do it. You suffer from a neuro-degenerative disease, which means that the nerves disappear cells. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia are:

  • a decline in efficiency of the brain
  • a reduced way of Thinking, orientation, language, Auffassungs and judgment
  • the gradual loss of memory function

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, but only a Form of dementia. Other common forms of Lewy body dementia, protein deposits Inside the nerve cells responsible for mental confusion, visual hallucinations, and motor problems. Or Vascular dementia, the cause, unnoticed strokes. The symptoms are those of Alzheimer’s disease in a similar way.

  • Brain Test: How high your risk of Alzheimer’s?

Different forms of Alzheimer’s dementia

  • Most often occurs in the sporadic Form of Alzheimer’s. In this disease, determining genetic and environmental influences in the course. The biggest risk factor is age. But also, the ApoE4 Gene, which is required for the Transport of fatty acids responsible increases the risk of developing a disease.
  • Much less common is the autosomal dominant Form of Alzheimer’s dementia. Characteristic for this Form of Alzheimer’s disease is that the symptoms occur much earlier and faster increase or accumulate.
  • Within a family, multiple people, Alzheimer patients, talk to doctors of a familial Form of Alzheimer’s disease. In this Form, the risk of the blood is increased related to fall ill to Alzheimer’s. While the lifetime risk is normally ten percent, it increased in first-degree Relatives two and a half times (25 percent).

Symptoms: Alzheimer’s disease passes through different stages

The course of Alzheimer’s disease is already documented since Alois Alzheimer’s first records. The first Phase of the dementia diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease is the stage of mild dementia.

The Ill are no longer able to remember new things. In addition, abstract tasks of everyday life to make, such as, for example, a tax return, difficult. In this stage of Alzheimer’s disease in certain areas of the cerebral cortex (neocortex), the first clumps of Protein (Beta Amyloid Plaques).

Is the stage of moderately severe dementia is reached, the clumped proteins already in other areas of the brain affected. The Sufferers can no longer recognize complex shapes and patterns properly and to remember. So it is for patients difficult to operate household appliances or to dress independently. Also, the language suffers from the understanding. The Patients themselves can see their own impairments mostly do not (Anosognosia).

Psychological symptoms in the severe dementia phase

The symptoms increases over time. For the Sufferers often psychological additional symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, hallucinations, or disturbance of the sleep-Wake rhythm. The stage of severe dementia characterize increasing motor and autonomic disturbances, incontinence. The Sick are in need of care.

Alzheimer’s disease is not the same for every patient. Recent studies have shown that the protein clumps, which are responsible for the symptoms, that come from different protein families. This could be an explanation for the different course of the disease, concluded researchers from the University of California in San Francisco.

Causes of Alzheimer’s still unknown

What happens during Alzheimer’s disease in the brain, so far there has been only theories. The most common claims that mutations of certain proteins in the brain lead to too much protein (β-Amyloid) is formed. The reactive β-Amyloid molecules (“monomers”) together in a chemical compound, and “lumps”.

As a result, the so-called Plaques, which are deposited in the cerebral cortex and the destructive removal processes in the brain in gear. A removal operation triggers the next. “The injury in the brain follows the Domino principle”, says the neurobiologist Mathias Jucker from the Hertie Institute of the University of Tübingen.

What is the cause for the Mutation of the β-Amyloid proteins, the research is still looking for an answer.

The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age

By far the most important and treatable risk factor for the development of a dementia is the age. From the age of 60. The age of the dementia, the frequency doubles every five years.

Another risk factor is the gender. In women older than 60 years, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is twice as high as the risk of breast cancer.

Genetic factors seem to be as much of a role to play. So a particular variant of the ApoE gene is affected (important for cholesterol transport in the blood), the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s dementia. In carriers of ApoE4 in disease signs and symptoms occur very early.

“About 30 percent of Alzheimer’s risk by seven risk factors, we can influence more or less effective,” says the dementia-researcher Miia Kivipelto from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. They are:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • low education
  • Depression

Sugar, Stress, anxiety, and depression

Researchers at the Columbia University in New York have also seen a connection between sugary drinks and the development of Alzheimer’s. They had accompanied 2300 seniors for seven years. 430 of them diseased in the course of the investigation of Alzheimer’s disease. A particularly high risk to develop the disease, according to the study, subjects who had taken daily around 20 grams of sugar in the Form of beverages. Your Alzheimer’s risk was increased by 50 percent.

A team of researchers from Norway (University of Trondheim) had been the subjects of recent Stress, Anxiety and depression questioned. People, the conditions, particularly under strong anxiety, or depression sufferers, according to their research, more likely to have dementia than the mentally Healthy.

For the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease there are no miracle formula. The research has, however, developed strategies for Alzheimer’s patients to help are not able to – even if Alzheimer’s disease is curable:

  • Medicines for the Symptom of memory loss (Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor)
  • The “Alzheimer’s Vaccine”? Currently there are about a dozen different antibodies for the immunization against Alzheimer’s-inducing Beta-Amyloid in the Test.
  • Anti-inflammatory against Plaques? In animal experiments, resulted in the anti-inflammatory Ibuprofen a better memory performance.
  • The early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease with Bio-markers to a therapy before the brain decay.

Dementia prevention – is it possible?

Depending on the form of Dementia you can prevent it, so better or worse. Compared to some species, we are according to the current state of the science is simply powerless. Especially since the biggest risk factor for dementia is old age and can be known, and don’t stop.

Nevertheless: What is the harm your body can also affect the brain. So you can, at least, contrary to a vascular dementia by attention to the following five things:

1. You eat a balanced diet

According to latest research, eating a Mediterranean diet is especially good for our heart and brain. Recently Australian researchers came to the conclusion that with this diet, the dementia way-risk can be lower. The diet is mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grain and milk products, olive oil, little red meat, instead fish and chicken.

2. You drink alcohol only in moderation

Advocates of the Mediterranean diet also recommend a glass of red wine. It should be however. Because heavy alcohol consumption can damage the brain. This is the context that scientists from Stockholm confirmed. Subjects who drank less than once per month alcohol, suffered only half as likely to memory problems, such as test persons drank more often.

The researchers did not distinguish between wine, beer and spirits. Particularly interesting: the subjects, the handles never to alcohol, increased the risk of dementia, in turn, slightly, compared with the Little-drinkers.

3. You to move sufficiently

Australian scientists recommend two and a half hours of Sport per week, in order to curb memory loss. The acting is better than drugs.

4. Indulge yourself in stressful situations, a time-out

Stress can promote the degradation processes in the brain and lead to Alzheimer’s disease, reports researchers from Argentina. They found: Of the 107 studied Alzheimer’s patients, 78 were severely burdened emotionally, such as through the death of a family member, Violence, or accidents.

5. You don’t smoke

Smokers have a twice as high risk of dementia such as non-Smoking. As the result of a long-term study of more than 21,000 U.S. citizens. Those who want to prevent dementia, you should break the habit of therefore, the Smoking.

6. You regularly go to the Sauna

A study, of course, of Finnish researchers, suggests that sweating can help you in the Sauna in the fight against dementia. The researchers studied more than 2000 healthy men. Those who saunierten four to seven Times a week, had muffles a 66 percent lower risk of dementia compared with a Sauna.

Source: Kilimann, I., & Teipel, S. (2013). Alzheimer’s Disease. In: Bartsch, T. & Falkai. P. (EDS.), Memory disturbances. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-36993-3_18