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Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia Linked

News January 6th, 2015

By: Kecia Lilly

BBC News recently reported on a study carried out by the Medical Research Council that links schizophrenia with Alzheimer’s disease.

Before continuing further, it’s worth stating the disclaimer that these two diseases are distinct! It’s not that they’re the same disease, but that they are both start in the same area of the brain. That may not be surprising to all since both disease affect the brain – and many doctors have speculated a correlation between dementia and schizophrenia for years – but now there is quantifiable proof.

The Research Study

The study was conducted on over 480 volunteers between the ages of 8 and 85. The team carried out a series of brain scans to see how the brain naturally ages. Following this, they analyzed the brain scans of those with schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. What they found was that the part of the brain to develop last were the first to be affected. That part of the brain that’s affected varies among people – it may be grey matter or nerve cells – but the resulted disease is similar.

What Does This Mean?

This doesn’t cure Alzheimer’s or Schizophrenia, but it is a huge step forward in understanding the diseases – since far more is understood about schizophrenia.

We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth delineating into again, Alzheimer’s disease is a default diagnosis. As its name implies, a default diagnosis is a diagnosis by default; as in, it’s diagnosed by way of process of elimination. Today, we still know very little about Alzheimer’s disease, so any headway on determining the cause is monolithic.

What this means for Alzheimer’s is that doctors are starting to understand what environmental and genetic factors may cause the disease as well as which part (or parts) may be affected first.

For those that have read our blog for a while, or have spoken to anyone who’s an expert in Alzheimer’s, then you’ll know that the earlier you treat the neurodegenerative disease the better off the elder will be.

Various Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

For those suffering from Alzheimer’s, there are two ways of treating the disease to slow its progression. Those who are suffering from severe Alzheimer’s should stick to strict routines to increase their memory and understanding day-to-day.

However, those – who have caught their diagnosis early – should start learning new skills, read more, and do yoga. For those fighting Alzheimer’s in the beginning stages, the best thing they can do is keep learning. This improves the memory drastically as elders develop new skills and engage parts of the brain they hadn’t used before.

For those cautious about the onset of Alzheimer’s, remember that while routine can bring balance and a foundation to our lives, it also can become rote, making us unable to distinguish between each day. Don’t reach that point of monotonous depression; always be trying to do improve, learn, and do something new.

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