May 1, 2020 | Assisted Living Administrator CEUs, Nursing Home Administrator CEUs, Nursing Home Administrator continuing education courses, Senior Citizens | No Comments
The accumulation of one particular protein in the brain is at the basis of three very different age-related conditions. Until recently, nobody understood how this was possible. Research by the Laboratory for Neurobiology and Gene Therapy (KU Leuven) now reveals that the shape of the protein determines the clinical picture.
The presence of α-synuclein protein deposits in the brain is characteristic for three different diseases: Parkinson’s disease (PD), multiple system atrophy (MSA) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Although these disorders are part of the same family, they are clinically and pathologically very different.
Parkinson’s disease affects around two percent of the population over 60. The condition manifests itself mainly in motor problems. Dementia with Lewy bodies is less common (0.4 percent of people over 65), but is still the second most common form of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease. Multiple system atrophy is a rare but extremely aggressive disease for which there is virtually no treatment. It causes a variety of health issues, including general pain, bladder problems and low blood pressure, as well as motor problems. Most patients succumb to the disease within five to ten years.