The increasing prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to 66 million, 1/10 of the world population by 2030, makes it the most common form of neurodegenerative disorders and the third leading cause of death. The common signature of AD which were revealed by postmortem brain studies of patients with AD is aggregation of amyloid beta (Aβ) protein into senile plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau) protein into intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). These lesions are believed to contribute to neuronal death through a wide range of toxic mechanisms.
The disorder gradually destroys a person’s memory, the ability to learn and causes progressive decline in cognition. As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals may also experience changes in personality and behavior, such as anxiety, agitation or hallucinations. In late stages of the disease, individuals need help with dressing, eating and other basic functions. People with AD die an average of four to 10 years after diagnosis, but the duration of the disease can vary from three to 20 years.