Alzheimer’s Disease – UPSC Prelims

Alzheimer’s Disease:
  • Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and brain cells to die.
  • The disease is the most common cause of dementia – a continuous decline in thinking, behavioural and social skills that affect a person’s ability to function independently.
  • Caused by: Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells.
  • One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, deposits of which form plaques around brain cells.
  • The other protein is called tau, deposits of which form tangles within brain cells.
  • Vulnerability: Alzheimer disease most commonly affects older adults, but it can also affect people in their 30s or 40s.
  • Cases:
    • According to WHO estimates for 2017, dementia affects approximately 50 million people worldwide, a number that is projected to grow to 82 million by 2030.
    • In India, it is estimated that 5.3 million people (1 in 27) above the age of 60 have dementia in 2020. This is projected to rise to 7.6 million by 2030.
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