Alzheimer's Disease

By: Brooke Steil

Cause of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease is caused by a genetic mutation. For early-onset Alzheimer's, the mutations are in chromosomes 1, 14, and/or 21.

For late-onset Alzheimer's, there has not been a specific gene that causes it, but there is a common genetic factor that has appeared to increase a person's risk of developing it. This factor is related to Apolipoprotein E, or APOE. This is found on chromosome 19.

Prenatal Tests

Prenatal diagnosing uses amniocentesis during pregnancies. An amniocentesis, also known as an amnio test, is a prenatal test that can provide important information about a baby's health. It is done by extracting a small amount of amniotic fluid and testing this fluid. These are mostly done if there is a family history of a genetic disorder or genetic disease. They can detect increased risk for the mutation for Alzheimer's, however, it is unlikely to be performed unless a family member has been diagnosed with the mutation. Also, if the gene mutation is there, that does not necessarily mean that child will develop Alzheimer's Disease.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

Symptoms of this disease may include:

-Difficulty remembering newly learned information

-Mood and behavior changes

-Deepening confusions about events, times, and places

-Unfounded suspicions about family friends and professional caregivers

-More serious memory loss

-Difficulty speaking and/or walking

Population Affected

There are more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer's in the USA. 5.2 million of them are 65 years and older. 200,000 of them are younger than 65 years old and they are diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's.

Candidate for Alzheimer's

The chances of developing Alzheimer's is increased if a parent has the gene for the disease. To develop the disease, you have to possess the gene which is inherited from a parent. It is very rare for a person without any Alzheimer's history in their family to develop the disease.

Inheritance

Alzheimer's Disease is autosomal dominant. This means that if one of the genes is altered, Alzheimer's will most likely be present in the individual.

Medical Assistance

A caregiver is needed to help with daily activities. Many people, however, are put in nursing homes so there is always help when needed and so the family doesn't worry so much. The patient will need a caregiver that will help them as they start forgetting simple things and not being able to do things on their own.

Long-Term Outlook

The disease causes brain cells to malfunction, basically dying, which causes the memory loss, erratic behavior, and loss of body functions. This will slowly take away a person's identity and ability to connect with others, think, talk, and walk. Alzheimer's has no survivors as of today.

Treatments/Cures

There are currently treatments to help slow the worsening of symptoms for Alzheimer's, but there is no cure to stop the disease.

Prevention

Alzheimer's is a genetic disease that cannot be prevented. It is an inherited disease, so there is a chance of inheriting it, but there is no prevention for the disease.

Future Children

An individual with Alzheimer's Disease can have children in the future. These children would be perfectly healthy and never develop Alzheimer's in their life, but there is a chance that the gene will be passed down to their child. The possibility for the child to inherit this disease is 50/50 if either the mother or father carries the disease.

Current Research

Neuroscience is searching for ways to prevent the disease and create effective treatments. Researchers are also trying to develop tests that can diagnose patients with the disease before signs and symptoms occur. Currently, there is no cure, but researchers are looking for better ways to take care of people with the disease and ways to support their families. These scientists are funded to continue this research and find more answers and new treatments.

MLA Citations

"Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia | Alzheimer's Association." Alzheimer's Disease &

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"Alzheimer's & Dementia - What We Know | Research Center | Alzheimer's

Association."Alzheimer's Association - Research Center. Alzheimer's Association,

n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.



"Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Fact Sheet." National Institute on Aging. NIH, June 2011.

Web. 22 Apr. 2015.


Leonard, Wendy. "Alzheimer’s Disease Tests." Healthline. Brenda B. Springgs, 29 Aug.

2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.



"Memory Loss Myths & Facts | Alzheimer's Association." Memory Loss Myths & Facts |

Alzheimer's Association. Alzheimer's Association, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.