“We are our brains. This is the center of our personality, and Alzheimer’s disease takes it away from us, ”described the disease of the brain Pascual Maragall Foundationfor Alzheimer’s research based in Spain.
“It is progressive and irreversible, it changes personality and gradually destroys Memory human being, as well as the ability to learn, reason, judge, communicate and perform daily activities. These abilities are lost due to the death of a certain type of brain cells, neurons,” they said on the foundation’s website.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are cognitive and behavioralsuch as forgetfulness or difficulty remembering recent information, problems with orientation, and confusion, among others. However, sometimes there are unusual symptoms How language, behavioral and visual impairmentswhich are not usually associated with the disease, but may be first signs when this condition occurs up to 65 yearsand even under the age of 30.
Doctor Lisandro OlmosMN 89837, medical director of the Buenos Aires Rehabilitation Center and PhD student at the University of Barceló, explained information: “Early or early-onset Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia. very rare what affects people younger than 65 years old. Approximately 5-6% of people with Alzheimer’s disease show these symptoms before the age of 65.
The doctor indicated that in most people with this type of early manifestation, the most common symptom is memory lossas with all types of Alzheimer’s disease.
” Causes may be multiple, it is not clear why some people develop the disease earlier than others, but rarely there may be some early onset associated with mutations out of three genesAPP, PSENI or PSEN2, which can be inherited between family members, ”said the doctor.
When the illness starts from 70 years old It is characterized by a progressive loss of recent memory with atrophy of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that allows us to learn and remember new information.
In contrast, in younger people, symptoms may begin with Difficulty expressing yourself and understanding thingsproblems to make sure coordinated movements, calculate distances or behavioral disorderssaid Alberto Llado, a researcher at the Alzheimer’s Department. Barcelona Hospital Clinicwhich adds that younger patients may have a faster evolution overall.
For his part, Olmos pointed out: “While memory loss is the most common manifestation, there are others that are more atypical: speech disorders, computational disorders, analytical thinking disorders, decision-making disorders, all of which have consequences in the workplace. But it must be emphasized that these demonstrations are the least frequent.
“In 30% of cases, the first symptoms may differ from those of memory, while in older patients these unusual signs occur in less than 10% of cases,” Llado said.
Diagnosing this disease can become a problem if the person suffering from it is younger than 65 and also has these atypical symptoms.
It may take longer for a patient to get to a specialist because “because they are younger, doctors are initially unaware that it may be Alzheimer’s, making atypical presentations,” said researcher Oriol Grau of Barcelona’s βeta Brain Research Center (BBRC). ) Pascual Maragal.
Prevalence dementia with early onset varies across studies but is estimated to affect 1 per 1000 people. According to Alberto Llado, Alzheimer’s is the most common cause in this scenario.
However, Dr. Olmos noted that it is important to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. “Memory impairment or cognitive loss is not always associated with Alzheimer’s disease, there are other diseases such as cerebrovascular accident (CVD) that can also cause it, for which the correct diagnosis is an important step to suggest follow-up strategies. “.
The causes of early Alzheimer’s disease are unknown (with the exception of genetics), what is known is that there are no differences in terms of neuropathological changes that characterize the disease: deposits of beta-amyloid and tau proteins in the brain.
What may change in people with atypical presentations, especially early in the course of the disease, are patterns of tau distribution in the brain that are “slightly different,” Grau said.
Sometimes, as Dr. Olmos noted, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease has genetic origin mutations in three genes: PSEN1, PSEN2 and the amyloid precursor protein gene. Depending on the affected gene, it usually appears before the age of 60, even over 50, and in extreme cases over 30.
IN Colombia the province of Antioquia has a population many of which carry the Paisa (PSEN1) mutation, which predisposes to autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease. Those affected typically develop mild cognitive impairment around age 44, dementia at age 49, and die from complications around age 60.
In this group, two cases of two mutations with a protective effect against pice with the ability to delay the onset of the disease for years were identified. The second case was recently published in the journal Nature.
Llado pointed out that knowledge of genetic changes or factors that can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease “is of great interest in studying possible mechanisms of action and suggesting possible new treatments.”
On the other hand, Dr. Olmos recommended consulting when there is any deterioration in our intellectual abilities, especially in memory, when it affects our social, family and work activities. “It is here that the first manifestations sometimes begin to appear, when a person cannot perform his work task with normal working capacity. This is where it is necessary to consult with a specialist neurologist and explore, among the many diagnoses, the possibility of the onset of early development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Concerning early Alzheimer’s disease, unclear issues remain to be resolved. Why the clinical picture is different, or to what extent it is the same disease, or these are different variants, Grau listed. “These are things that still don’t have a clear answer and the investigation is ongoing.”
Finally, Dr. Olmos advised avoiding Do not think that any deterioration in memory or intellectual abilities is Alzheimer’s disease. “Given the stigma associated with this disease, and the social, family and personal implications that this type of diagnosis brings, I advise you to consult with physicians who specialize in this pathology.”