Have you come across someone who has been the life of social circles in the past, but barely seems to recognize his own family now? Or have you talked to someone just a while ago and he does not recollect having the conversation at all? Chances are you might be looking at an individual suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative condition that gradually destroys memory and thinking ability and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Symptoms first appear generally in individuals above 60 years of age and AD is the most common cause of dementia.
The pathogenesis of the condition involves accumulation of amyloid b peptide in the brain. Also neurofibrillary tangles are formed containing a protein called 'tau' which is due to imbalance between formation and clearance of the amyloid b peptide. Loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain also occurs gradually.
"The sad part about this disease like many others is that in the early stages the condition is almost unrecognizable. In the beginning, the patient may forget words and misplaces objects. The early stages do not interfere with ability to work or live independently. In later severe stages, the patient loses memory to the extent that he/she cannot remember even basic abilities such as eating, walking, sitting etc.", says Dr. Mahajan of StemRx Bioscience Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease and management only includes supportive care and medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors etc.
Dr. Mahajan adds, "Cellular therapy is reaching new heights and breakthrough developments are being made in this field for treatment of conditions previously thought to be untreatable. It was believed earlier that regeneration of damaged nerves is not possible. This thought has now been challenged and it is known that stem cells exist in the brain which functions to repair neurological damage."
Research has also shown that stem cells derived from other parts of the human body such as bone marrow, fat tissue etc. as well as committed progenitor cells can survive, migrate, and differentiate into cholinergic neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes thereby ameliorating memory deficits. Additionally, stem cells can also stimulate endogenous neural precursors, down regulate pro-inflammatory activity and prevent death of nerve cells.
"Therapy at StemRx is based on proven facts that a mentally enriching environment, along with physical exercise enhances stem cell activity, new nerve cell production and nerve cell survival. We adopt a personalized holistic treatment plan encompassing cellular therapy (cells taken from patients' own body), memory tasks to boost mental health as well as physical exercises and diet modifications. Supportive growth factors, such as Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which has been shown to increase nerve cell production from resident stem cells are also used as a part of treatment for AD at StemRx."
"Our goal is to enable patients age gracefully, independently and cherish the memories they have accumulated in their lifetime", concludes Dr.Mahajan.