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老年痴呆症(Alzheimer)血液测试工具

2017-10-09 13:35VOA 浏览:
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老年痴呆症(Alzheimer)血液测试工具

JUNE SIMMS: This is SCIENCE IN THE NEWS, in VOA Special English. I’m June Simms.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: And I’m Shirley Griffith. Today we tell about Alzheimer’s disease. More than a century after its discovery, Alzheimer’s disease is still destroying people’s brains. There is no known cure. But research may offer hope for the future. [http://bbs.enbus.cn 英语论坛]

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JUNE SIMMS: Alzheimer’s disease affects memory and personality - the qualities that make people individuals. The disease robs their ability to perform simple activities like putting on clothing or even swallowing. People with the condition begin to forget simple things, like where they left the key to their car. As time passes, they forget more and more. They may forget what a key is used for.

Victims of Alzheimer’s can forget the names of their husbands, wives or children. Then they forget who they are. Finally, they remember almost nothing. It is as if their brains die before the other parts of the body.

Alzheimer’s patients do die from its effects or conditions linked to it. But death may not come for many years.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: An estimated thirty million people around the world have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s affects people of all races equally. Women are more likely to develop the disease than men. This is partly because women generally live longer than men.

The disease generally develops differently in each person. Yet some early signs of the disease are common. The victims may not recognize changes in themselves. Or they may struggle to hide them.

JUNE SIMMS: Media reports tell about older adults found walking far from their homes. They do not know where they are or where they came from. These people often are suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Victims of the disease can become angry and violent as the ability to think and remember decreases. They sometimes shout and move with no apparent purpose or goal. Or they may become very quiet.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Probably the most-common early sign of Alzheimer’s is short-term memory loss. People with the disease cannot remember something that happened yesterday, for example. Also, they have increasing difficulty learning and storing new information. Slowly, thinking becomes much more difficult. The victims cannot understand a joke, or cannot cook a meal, or perform simple work.

Another sign is difficulty solving simple problems. Alzheimer’s patients might not know what to do if they see food burning. They also may have trouble following directions or finding their way to places they have known all their lives.

Another sign is struggling to find the right words to express thoughts or understand what is being discussed. People with Alzheimer’s seem to change. Quiet people may become noisy and aggressive. They may easily become angry and lose their ability to trust others.

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JUNE SIMMS: Alzheimer’s disease normally affects people more than sixty-five years old. But rare cases have been discovered in people younger than fifty.

Alzheimer’s is identified in only about two percent of people who are sixty-five. But the risk increases to about twenty percent by age eighty. By eighty-five or ninety, half of all people are found to have some signs of the disease.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: About five million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to more than double by the year twenty fifty as the number of older Americans increases. The Alzheimer’s Association says medicines approved for use are effective in half the patients who take them. Among those fifty percent, the drugs are effective for six to twelve months.

JUNE SIMMS: For years, scientists have been attempting to learn who may develop Alzheimer’s. If the condition could be identified before its worst signs appear, people might get at least temporary medical help.

The most widely-held belief about the cause of Alzheimer’s is that a protein - called beta-amyloid - builds up in patients’ brains. It has also been found in the spinal fluid of Alzheimer’s patients. Large amounts of this protein may destroy a person’s ability to think.

But some scientists question whether beta-amyloid causes the disease. They think that the protein build-up may result from it. Still, most researchers say thick tangles or plaques of the protein are responsible for the condition. Plaques are unusual clusters, or groups, of proteins. The researchers say beta-amyloid destroys communication links in the brain.

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