The cause of
Alzheimer's disease is not clear, and it is likely
there are several causes of this condition. Alzheimer's disease causes changes
or deterioration in certain areas of the brain that control thinking,
communication, and behavior. Some of the deterioration may be related to a loss
of chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters)-acetylcholine, in particular-that
allow nerve cells in the brain to communicate properly.
It is not
clear why these changes in the brain occur, but they are a major focus of
Alzheimer's research. Although most people who have Alzheimer's disease do not
family history of the condition, you are at increased
risk for the condition if a member of your family has it.
The Oscar-nominated movie Away from Her portrays a long-married
couple struggling with Alzheimer's disease and the emotional toll it causes when
the wife, played by actress Julie Christie, gives her affection to another man
whom she meets in a nursing home.
This heart-wrenching and emotional dramatization of Alzheimer's brings home
the difficulties families face when a person's ability to recognize and
maintain relationships gradually declines -- especially when the relationship
theories have suggested that metals, such as zinc or aluminum, play a role in
Alzheimer's disease. But research has not found much evidence to support these
theories. Experts agree that there is no reason to leave zinc out of your diet
or to avoid items that contain aluminum, such as cooking utensils or soda pop