By Rishika Pulvender
The continued mental deterioration occurring in middle or old ages, mainly due to degeneration of the brain is known as Alzheimer’s disease.
The brain’s nerve cells, neurons, are attacked resulting in memory loss. The neurons, which hold connections to many different parts, break their connections and hence degenerate. When the nerve cells in the hippocampus are destroyed, Alzheimer’s disease seems to have affected the memory component of the brain. Similarly, when neurons in the cerebral cortex are destroyed, the language and judgment abilities are affected and hence decline.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory. This majorly affects those of age 65 or higher. As of now, there is no concrete cure for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and hence many experiments are run testing different effects.
One specific trial tested the placebo effect. The trial involved 215 patients who were at random placed at either a fully functional ventriculoperitoneal shunt (a surgery treating excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain) or a ventricular catheter with distal shunt occlusion.
The outcomes were to measure the Mattia Dementia Rating Scale and the Global Deterioration Scale; however, the trial was halted and ended due to futility and lack of clinical benefit. Though the placebo was not effective in this controlled experiment, its effects regarding other surgical processes can still be tested. From here, it will be interesting to see what the miracles of surgery or lack of it can bring to Alzheimer’s.
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