Neurodegenerative diseases (NDD’s) affect lives on a daily basis. These diseases are not geographically confined and their adverse effects on the human body have been, up to now, essentially irreversible. However, some significant progress may have been made towards fighting NDD’s by our own home grown South African scientists.
Neurons are the building blocks of the nervous system and the nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord. The progressive loss of structure or impaired function and death of neurons results in neurodegenerative diseases which include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia and motor neuron disease.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect specific parts and functional systems of the nervous system and gradually progress over many years. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease, followed by Parkinson’s disease.