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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 95-100

Physiological and pathological functions of beta-amyloid in the brain and alzheimer's disease: A review


School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA; 3rd Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, Europe

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Ladislav Volicer
2337 Dekan Lane, Land O Lakes, FL 34639

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/CJP.CJP_10_20

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Alzheimer's disease is a major health problem all over the world. The role of beta-amyloid (Aβ) is at the center of investigations trying to discover the disease pathogenesis and to develop drugs for treatment or prevention on Alzheimer's disease. This review summarizes both physiological and pathological functions of Aβ and factors that may participate in the disease development. Known genetic factors are trisomy of chromosome 21, mutations of presenilin 1 and 2, and apolipoprotein E4. Lifetime stresses that increase the risk of development of Alzheimer's disease are described. Another important factor is the level of education, especially of linguistic ability. Lifestyle factors include mental and physical exercise, head injury, social contacts, and diet. All these factors might potentiate the effect of aging on the brain to increase the risk of development of pathological changes. The review summarizes pathological features of Alzheimer brain, Aβ plaques, neurofibrillary tangles composed of hyperphosphorylated tau, and brain atrophy. Consequences of Alzheimer's disease that are reviewed include cognitive deficit, loss of function, and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Because there is no effective treatment, many persons with Alzheimer's disease survive to severe and terminal stages which they may fear. Alzheimer's disease at this stage should be considered a terminal disease for which palliative care is indicated. Importance of advance directives, promoting previous wishes of the person who was developing dementia and who subsequently lost decision-making capacity, and limitations of these directives are discussed. Information in this review is based on author's knowledge and clinical experience that were updated by searches of PubMed.


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