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World Alzheimer’s Day 2018: Facts and Myths about Alzheimer’s

World Alzheimer’s Day myths: Is memory loss a natural part of aging? Learn the realities behind these myths.

health Updated: Sep 21, 2018 15:58 IST
Saumya Sharma
Saumya Sharma
Hindustan Times, Delhi
Dementia,Alzheimer’s disease,Alzheimer’s symptoms
It’s normal to have occasional memory problems, such as forgetting where you kept your car keys or wallet or even the name of a person you’ve recently met. However, Alzheimer’s is a deeper-rooted issue than occasional memory loss.(Unsplash)

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that causes memory and behavioural problems. The symptoms develop over a period of time before becoming severe enough to hinder daily chores. However, it’s important to understand facts from myths about this disease that affects a large number of people. Here are some of the commonly-believed myths and the facts to help you understand this disease better:

Myth 1: Alzheimer’s only affects older people

Fact: Alzheimer’s disease can start as early as a person’s 30s, called younger-onset or early onset Alzheimer’s.

Myth 2: Memory loss is directly associated with aging

Fact: It’s normal to have occasional memory problems, such as forgetting where you kept your car keys or wallet or even the name of a person you’ve recently met. However, Alzheimer’s is a deeper-rooted issue than occasional memory loss. Onset of Alzheimer’s causes brain cells to malfunction and ultimately degenerate. This leads to an individual forgetting the name of a family member or the roads that lead them home, where they may have lived for a long time.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “It can be difficult to tell normal memory problems from memory problems that should be a cause for concern. If you or a loved one has memory problems or other problems with thinking and learning that concern you, contact a physician. Sometimes the problems are caused by medication side effects, vitamin deficiencies or other conditions and can be reversed with treatment. The memory and thinking problems may also be caused by another type of dementia.”

Myth 3: Aspartame causes memory loss

Fact: Aspartame, found in artificial sweeteners by and large, and marketed under brand names such as Equal® was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in all foods and beverages in 1996. However, since its approval, aspartame’s health effects have been questioned.

Myth 4: Aluminium pots and pans, used for cooking, eating or drinking, can lead to Alzheimer’s disease

Fact: Aluminium has emerged as a possible suspect in the onset of Alzheimer’s, since the 1960s and 1970s. This suspicion led to concerns being raised about exposure to aluminium through sundry sources like pots, pans, beverage cans and more. Research on this, however, has failed to confirm the role of aluminium in causing Alzheimer’s disease.

“Experts today focus on other areas of research, and few believe that everyday sources of aluminium pose any threat,” says Alzheimer’s Association.

Myth 5: Alzheimer’s disease can be treated

Fact: As of now there is no treatment to cure, delay or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Medication may aid temporarily, however, treatment is a long-term goal at present.

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First Published: Sep 21, 2018 15:51 IST