Alzheimers & The Brain

Areas Affected

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that affects 3 parts of your brain. The cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem. The cerebrum controls memory, thinking, problem solving, and movement. The cerebellum controls coordination and balance and the brain stem is what connects your brain to your spinal cord. The brain stem also controls breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion.

How the brain function changes

Because of the brain literally shrinking, a person with Alzheimer's disease is greatly affected. Their sight, hearing, smells, thoughts, problem solving, memory, and voluntary movement is all affected. Instead of the brain transmitting information clearly, a brain with Alzheimer's has plaque buildup and tangled nerves. This makes it impossible for the brain to function normally.

How Ones Life is affected by this

The most recognized change in someone with Alzheimer's is their lack of memory. A person doesn't remember family members, peoples names, or something you told them 2 minutes ago. They don't remember short term things.

I work in the memory care unit at a nursing home and the residents will remember the exact date and year they got married and their wife's phone number but they can't remember what they ate for dinner.

Some people affected with this disease as an elder think they still have the same job they did while they were 40. Some residents at work think they are still a nurse at a hospital and think they have jobs to do.

How this affects me personally

I picked Alzheimer's to research because it affects me personally. I work at a nursing home and have to provide care for people with this disease. You never know what's going to happen because of how serious the disease is. If they don't take their medications that day they could be a whole different person. It's almost mind-blowing to interact with them and realize how their brain is so different.
Effects of Alzheimer's Disease

Research being done today

Researchers today are saying Alzheimer's may be influenced by mental fitness, physical fitness, diet and the environment but there is no clear answers yet. Medication can be used to limit memory loss and confusion but cannot cure of prevent progression of the disease. High doses of vitamin E along with a long list of other medications are helpful with cognitive loss in a person with Alzheimer's.