What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that causes problems with behavior, memory and thinking. Symptoms typically develop slowly over time and only worsen, usually enough to interfere with basic tasks and daily life. Alzheimer’s usually develops in people over 65 years of age, but you can develop it at a younger age, known as Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. Once symptoms are noticeable to loved ones, people with Alzheimer’s live 4-20 years after they are diagnosed, with a median span of 8 years.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, memory loss is mild, confined to forgetting the day of the week or what you ate for breakfast yesterday. As years go by, Alzheimer’s can cause such severe dementia that the person diagnosed with it can begin to forget their own kids, not respond to conversation or not know their own home. In the US alone, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death. Alzheimer’s is also 60-80% of the cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s is such a heartbreaking, serious disease with no known cure: until now. Scientists may be onto something HUGE.
Are Scientists Onto Something Huge?
Scientists are now able to transfer memories between two living beings. How crazy is that! As far as the brain is concerned, we have a lot more in common with sea snails. Sea snails have 20,000 neurons compared to the 100 Billion that humans have. Many marine creatures work the same way as mammals do, but the processes that keep them alive is slightly less complicated.
In humans, to treat memory related illnesses, we first have to understand how the brain stores memory. The research team says in future, they may be able to enhance, modify or depress memories. This could lead the way to treating patients with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease to regain lost memory. How exciting!
But, the experiment was conducted on snails. As of now, they cannot confirm if they will be able to instantly restore memories in humans, but the researchers are hopeful that one day they can. The future looks bright in the science world.