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An expert tells us how early detection and diagnosis can help Alzheimer’s patient lead a better quality of life

Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative medicine researcher, StemRx tells us that a timely treatment and diagnosis can at least help the old and elderly to lead a better quality of life.

Have you come across someone who has memory loss that disrupts daily life? Do you know anyone who faces challenges in solving problems or planning where even familiar tasks seem difficult? If these are occasional problems then it could be age-related changes. If not, then these are symptoms of Alzheimer Disease (AD). It is usually thought to be the ailment of the old and makes one totally dependent on a caregiver. Unfortunately there is no cure for this condition, however Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative medicine researcher, StemRx tells us that a timely treatment and diagnosis can at least help the old and elderly to lead a better quality of life. Here is an excerpt from a short discussion we had with Dr Mahajan.

Is forgetfulness the only sign of AD?

Affected individuals may also develop confusion with time or location while few others may have poor judgement of things and frequent change in moods along with persistent forgetfulness.

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How does AD affect the lives of people suffering from it?

As per King s College London s World Alzheimer Report 2015, there are more than 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, implying one new case every 3.2 seconds. 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. It often leads to behavioural symptoms, inability to combine muscle movements, jumbled speech, or loss of appetite. Here are six tips to prevent AD.

What are the subtle signs of AD that one should watch out for?

Behavioural changes such as aggression, agitation, difficulty with self-care, irritability, meaningless repetition of own words, personality changes, restlessness, lack of restraint, or wandering away randomly and not being able to find way back are often seen. This is because the brains cell connections and the cells themselves degenerate and die, eventually destroying memory and other important mental functions. Here are few early signs and symptoms of AD.

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 the 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.

Can stem cell therapy help in treating AD?

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer s disease and management only includes supportive care and medications. Cellular therapy is reaching new heights and breakthrough developments are being made in this field for treatment of conditions previously thought to be not treatable. 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. We adopt a personalized holistic treatment plan encompassing cellular therapy (cells are taken from patients own body), memory tasks to boost mental health as well as physical exercises and diet modifications.

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