For years, Alzheimer’s has been thought of and treated as a single disease. According to a recent study at the UCLA, Alzheimer’s has three distinct subtypes. Bridgewater, NJ, home care providers hope this new understanding of Alzheimer’s may lead to more effective treatments.
How the Subtypes Were Identified
Metabolic disorders such as hormonal deficiencies, insulin resistance, and elevated levels of an amino acid called homocysteine can lead to Alzheimer’s in aging adults. The two-year study, published in the journal Aging, involved extensive metabolic testing of 50 participants. Several laboratory tests, including copper-to-zinc ratios and fasting insulin levels, revealed three distinct forms of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Disease Subtypes
The first subtype is referred to as inflammatory Alzheimer’s, in which seniors have elevated serum C-reactive protein and albumin-to-globulin ratios. Individuals with non-inflammatory Alzheimer’s do not have these inflammatory markers, but face other metabolic issues. The cortical subtype of Alzheimer’s tends to strike at an earlier age than other forms of the disease. Affected seniors may not exhibit memory loss during the early stages, but they are more likely to lose language skills as the condition progresses. This form of the disease is often associated with a zinc deficiency and affects more areas of the brain than the other subtypes.
Alzheimer’s currently affects approximately 6 million Americans, and the number is expected to increase to as many as 15 million by the year 2050. Researchers hope to continue studying various Alzheimer’s subtypes, their underlying causes, and how they respond to different treatments. This will hopefully lead to more targeted therapies to slow or even prevent the devastating effects of this disease.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s and how to care for aging adults with this condition, turn to Home Care Assistance. We provide a range of mental stimulation activities for seniors with Alzheimer’s, address their nutritional needs, and encourage social interaction. Our patent Cognitive Therapeutics Method shows promising results in slowing cognitive decline in seniors and boosting their mental health. For high-quality respite, live-in, or Alzheimer’s care, Bridgewater, NJ, families can call us at 908.450.9400.