How do some of the Medications for Alzheimer's Work and What Else can Help Prevent Decline?


How do some of the Medications for Alzheimer's Work and What Else can Help Prevent Decline?
Between two neurons (nerve cells) is a synapse.   Information is passed between nerve cells by electrical pulses that cross the synapse.  The electric pulse will travel from nerve to nerve crossing synapses between nerve cells until it reaches it's destination – ie: from brain cells down nerve cells in the spinal cord to a nerve cells in the arm to a muscle that will react and move your hand away from something that is hot.
Now the way the electric pulses cross the synapse is amazing, but a bit complicated The important thing to know is that this process is done by a chemical (neurotransmitter) in the synapse that makes this crossing of electric pulses possible.  One of these important chemicals in the nerve cell synapse is called Acetylcholine.   The Acetylcholine basically opens the door to the next nerve cell so that the pulse will pass through.   But – the Acetylcholine has an "expiration date" and another chemical (hormone) will destroy the old acetylcholine. (If there was too much Acetylcholine in the synapse the "door" to the next nerve cell would stay constantly open.)  This destroyer is called Acetylcholine Esterase.
Those suffering from Alzheimer's [and everyone to a lesser extent as they age] have less Acetylcholine in the synapses between their nerve cells and thus passing information between cells is more difficult.  So it would be better if the Acetylcholine was not destroyed in the synapses of those suffering from Alzheimer's.
Today there are no medications available to cure Alzheimer's disease, but there are some medications that delay cognitive decline.  Medications that are Acetylcholine Esterase Inhibitors prevent the Acetylcholine Esterase from destroying the "expired" Acetylcholine, thus leaving more Acetylcholine in the synapses and thus allowing more electric impulses to pass meaning more information is passed between the nerve cells.  [btw – this is what 
nerve gas does ;-0 ]
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
Research has shown that a technique called "Cognitive Stimulation", where a group of people with dementia are given activities that use various stimuli  including singing, quizzes and games, when  done  twice a week will improve thinking ability.  Research shows that improvements in thinking ability were similar or better than those achieved with the use of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The best improvement, however, was when those taking medication also had Cognitive Stimulation.  Cognitive Stimulation improved the effects of the medication.
When there is cognitive stimulation, more acetylcholine is created in the synapses.      This is why cognitive stimulation is important because it creates acetylcholine – thus creating the same result as the medications do.   Also when there is more acetylcholine created the medications for Alzheimer's patients also work better.  
Oran Aviv has been practicing Reflexology since 1995 and is a graduate of the Israel Alzheimer’s Association's “Health Activities” Project course.  Oran gives Reflexology treatments and organizes activities to improve memory and cognitive ability in the Alzheimer’s/Dementia unit of the Kfar Saba Senior Day Center in Israel and in private  homes.  Oran also developed and teaches Hand Reflexology Courses to caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's/Dementia.
To have Oran teach your group or to arrange a Reflexology and consultation session  email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here.

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