Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

Submitted by Dr. Georgie Porgie


World Alzheimer’s Day was recognized on September 21 and Barbadians were sensitized to the plight of many who suffer from this disease through a collaboration between the local Alzheimer’s Association and Central Bank of Barbados. The objective, to raise 5 million cents to assist with the construction of a day care centre for sufferers of Alzheimer’s .

27 thoughts on “Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

  1. Is the number of those suffering this disease on the rise? It seems so from observation. What are the reported cases?

    Last high profile person Bu understands contracting the disease is former Supervisor of Insurance.

  2. yesterday i was touched by a story which i read in one of the newspapers of a family trying to deal with day to day stress that the family goes through when dealing with a loved one having alzhemiers.

  3. David are you referring to Mr Wisemore Greaves? I know the late Marcus Jordan had it. Last year , I met a retired Barbadian nurse who lives in Vancouver Canada and she mentioned to me that there is a program where former elementary school teachers who have been diagnosed with the disease are now being brought back into the classroom to teach children. Because their earlier memory has become more dominant than their present memory, they still have the knowledge and skills they had used in their earlier years. It is a devastating disease for those who are related to anyone with the disease.

  4. @ GP
    On the rise…..which I consider a strange thing..ALZ was always thought of as a caucasian disease just as the case reverse of sicocell in blacks…Why good doctor could you offer a suggest? Could it be stress related or the fast foods we eat?

  5. “On the rise…..which I consider a strange thing..ALZ was always thought of as a caucasian disease just as the case reverse of sicocell in blacks”

    Onions are you that ignorant? By the way are you referring to the disease Sickle cell anemia?

    • If this is a disease on the rise and there is no cure than it behooves the Barbados government to begin to examine how we are going to care for the elderly and specifically cases of demencia. Our society even now is not treating well to concerns of the elederly. Old people are being dumped at our only primary healcare facilaity.

      Houston, we have a problem!

  6. OMG Didn’t he go up to Canada to represent the Barbadian Manulife Policy holders a few months ago. It seem that many of the plaintiffs are succumbing to this disease. Marcus Jordan was also a plaintiff , and so was Evan Mandeville they did not live to see the case go to court. I am not sure about the circumstances regarding Evan Mandeville.

  7. Is it necessary to specify the names of persons you suspect/know of having Alzheimer’s?

    It may be more sensitive to discuss the issues and leave the details for those who may want to share their experiences to do so.

    • @Over and over…..

      The sensitivity one should exercise about such matters is noted BUT this is a special case. BU has deliberately named Belgrave given the fact he was our last Supervisor of Insurance and served at a very thorny period. To what extent would the disease have come on and impaired his judgement? This question is not meant to ridicule the man but speaks to his competence in the last part of his tenure. In the public service we have shown, very well too, that evaluating performance is a challenge. Perhaps Vernese Brathwaite who worked under him and and documented loud concerns about CLICO may have changed the course of events around CLICO, one example. There is no shame that he has contracted the disease but there is shame if we do not learn from these kinds of things.

      Perhaps Dr.GP in an apoltical way of course can distil this point for us.

      (See slide 4)

  8. A very important point david which should make it mandatory for those runnning for the highest post in the country to publicly disclosed their medicals records.which brings to mind President ronald regean and how much of his decision making was hampered or delay in part due to the onset of the disease while in office

  9. old onions et al
    I hope that you find the first nine slides easy to understand, since this is perhaps the commonest info to find on the topic,in addition to the fact that the Path texts say that neurofibrillary tangles are the common early microscopic diagnostic findings on .

    The ppt submitted is really an assignment researched by one of my Biochem students Thought we might find something interesting for the forum to discuss.

  10. @GP
    Thanks. I just am unaccustomed to hearing this large quantum of Caribbean blacks who are seemingly being effected by this disease. I came along hearing men like Ronald Regan and George Montgomery and such film stars ….NOT BLACKS..or from this region..nor in these numbers, hence my question….Am I on to something here or nay ?

  11.  Alzheimer’s causes nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain, which causes the brain to drastically shrink
     The loss of mass affects nearly all of the brain’s functions:
     A brain with Alzheimer’s has dramatically fewer nerve cells and synapses compared to a healthy brain
     Plaques build up between the existing nerve cells
     Dead and dying nerve cells contain tangles
    We now know more about the origin of the neuro fibrillary tangles slides 10-12
    It seems that mutations in normal proteins lead to the formation of these tangles- see slide 13
     What are neurofibrillary tangles (NFT)?
     Aggregates of hyperphosphorylated tau proteins
     A main indicator of Alzheimer’s Disease
     What are tau proteins?
     Normally, tau proteins bind to microtubules to assist them with formation and stabilization
     When tau is mutated it becomes hyperphosphorylated and can no longer bind, which causes the microtubules to become unstable and disintegrate
     Mutated tau proteins begin to group together as insoluble clumps making NFTs, which disrupt intracellular functions and eventually lead to irreversible neuron death

    Note slides 14 and 15 et secq
    The Braak Stages describe how dementia and Alzheimer’s occurs
    The question, which we must seek answers for is how does the normal dementia we all gradually experience differs from the more severe Alzheimer’s especially when we consider the contents of Braak Stages 2-4.

  12. old onions
    You are of course correct in your empirical observations
    We have probably not been making the diagnosis because we didnt have the information we now have, and were just calling it old age. But I find the Braak Stages most interesting as it may apply to us of the stated vintage.
    Could diet/or change in diet be the cause of a rise in cases everywhere including our little island?

  13. old onions

    A patients risk of developing late-onset AD are likely to be from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors

    is it mainly lifestyle changes in our case?

  14. Yeah Doc
    I had a feeling it’s to do with food and stress…but could not find proof….they are killing the black man SOFTLY…..

  15. @ Dr. GP

    Hello Dr. Thanks for the presentation. I would like to add it to my collection, but cannot download from within the blog. Could you post it on the Medicine thread as an attachment? I am sure others would appreciate that (Hants e.g.).

    I am running scared, one great grandmother died at 94, and an uncle in his early 70′ from this disorder. I refuse to call it a disease! My gran when I last saw her in the mid-seventies was like a child – laughing, giggling and hiding behind the couch. She was also non-communicative. It was very sad.

    I lost a cousin recently to breast cancer at 38, that was quite distressing.

    My friend here with the brain tumor, is gradually going downhill. I told him what you said, but he refused to even have the pressure released from on the brain. Now, in addition to his seizures, he suffers from paralysis at times. Both legs become paralyzed or he is completely dead on the left side and cant move! He also uses the wrong words in conversations, sometimes a word that is not a word. For instance in a general conversation he used “crick-ed” where it was not relevant and made no sense. I said what? and he repeated. Needless to say, I have stayed far from him. Have not seen or heard from him since July. Don,t want him kicking the bucket around me.

    Glad to have you back educating us Doc. You must be one hell of a teacher!!!!


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