What and what? What are tau and what do they have to do with Tauopathies?
Well tau happen to be proteins. Considering the fact that tau sometime clump together inside the nerve cells of the human brain, causing the cells to stop functioning properly and die, this will affect some types of Dementias. The Disorders that are associated with an accumulation of tau are called Tauopathies.
One of the types of Dementias affected by the clumping tau is Alzheimer’s disease or AD. According to NINDS , with clients that have AD, the tau proteins become twisted and aggregate to form bundles, called neurofibrillary tangles, inside the neurons. Abnormal clumps (plaques) of another protein, called amyloid, are prominent in spaces between brain cells and are a hallmark of the disease. Both plaques and tangles are thought to contribute to reduced function and nerve-cell death in AD, but scientists do not fully understand this relationship. It is not clear, for example, if the plaques and tangles cause the disorder, or if their presence flags some other process that leads to neuronal death in AD.
Keep this in mind when you have clients that have Alzheimer’s disease. Try to help their families understand. Be patient and show that With Age Comes Respect.