Alain L Fymat
Over the past few decades, Alzheimer's disease, once considered a rare disorder, has emerged from obscurity to become a major public health problem. Based on a lack of treatment, it has been generally considered as an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. It is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder of poorly (or not) understood cause(s). Based on identified risk factors, several theories (hypotheses) have been propounded for its cause(s) beyond genetics: cholinergic, amyloid-beta, tau, viral or fungal infection, neurovascular, neuroinflammation, neurodevelopmental, cardiovascular, gum disease infection, dysfunction of oligodendrocytes, others related to lifestyle, diet, and the environment, and many others. Such a wide array of hypotheses is by itself indicative of our lack of true understanding and knowledge of the disease notwithstanding the fact that it has been identified and described since 1901, and been the subject of a considerable number of publications dealing with it (in excess of 50,000, according to some authors). Further, one must keep in mind that risk is not causation and risk management is not treatment only palliation.