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Can the Immune System Trigger Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Jigar Parekh 92% (113 ratings)
DM - Neurology
Neurologist, rajkot  •  2 years experience
Can the Immune System Trigger Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease is a neurological problem that is characterised by a cognitive decline and memory loss. It is a type of neurodegenerative dementia. The symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease include not being able to absorb and retain new information, lack of reasoning and judging, not being able to take on complex tasks, impaired visuospatial abilities, problems in reading, writing and speech, among many others. If a person has at least two of these symptoms in a debilitating manner, then the diagnosis can be made in favour of Alzheimer's Disease. The main causes of Alzheimer's are shrinkage of the brain size and death of the brain cells. The immune system is also said to trigger this neurodegenerative disease.

Let us find out what medical science has found so far:

  1. Connections: Many a times, in Alzheimer's disease, the memory and behaviour of the person changes because the brain is unable to make proper neural connections which can lead to memory loss of how a person behaved and the elements that formed the basis of the patient's cognition. Apparently, the immune system behaves in the same way within the brain and blocks the connection. This happens because there is constant communication between the brain and immune system along neurological lines, which is where the disease first emanates.
  2. Inflammation: The brain is prone to inflammation or swelling that is not the normal kind. This inflammation happens as a result of the activation of the infection fighting neurotransmitters and the chemical changes that happen in the brain when an infection strikes. The inflammation usually happens in the plaques or clumps which the brain tries to protect. These clumps are made up of a protein called Amyloid. The immune system is responsible for creating this inflammation in the brain of the patient.
  3. Pattern Recognition Receptors: Many of these receptors work in different manners and cooperate with each other to create a response in the brain. These PRRs can be found in the brain plaques, and they develop the signs of danger which further fuels the inflammation in the brain as a matter of protection.
  4. Activation of Cells Linked with the Immune System: When the PRRs begin to respond, it basically activates the immune system and the cells of the same. This is the basic reaction that causes the changes in brain which then leads to the attachment of the protein to the tissue that is diseased, in which case Alzheimer's Disease starts. The inflammation that we had spoken about earlier basically happens in the nervous tissue.

It is important to recognise and act on the initial signs of Alzheimer's Disease before it progresses beyond one's control.

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