Alzheimer's Disease

By: Alyssa B.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is when the the brain degenerates. this affects the memory, thinking, and behavior of the brain.

What are the causes of Alzheimer's? Is it Gentic?

Most Doctors and Physicians are still trying to find an ultimate cause of Alzheimer's. Some are being lead to believe that the accumulation of beta-amyloid on the outside of the brain cells is the source of the problem. This is because they harm a protein called "tau". Tau is important in the support and transport systems which spread types of nutrients all over the body.

“Familial Alzheimer's disease is caused by any one of a number of different single-gene mutations on chromosomes 21, 14, and 1. Each of these mutations causes abnormal proteins to be formed. Mutations on chromosome 21 cause the formation of abnormal amyloid precursor protein (APP). A mutation on chromosome 14 causes abnormal presenilin 1 to be made, and a mutation on chromosome 1 leads to abnormal presenilin 2. “ says

http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-genetics-fact-sheet

Simply, Alzheimer's Disease is inherited and is a genetic mutation.

How common is this Genetic-Mutation?
“Approximately 5.5 million people in the United States live with Alzheimer’s, and 500,000 new cases are added every year.” says http://www.thebarrow.org/Neurological_Services/Alzheimers_Disease_and_Cognitive_Disorders/215121 Essentially anyone between the ages 30-60 can contract this Genetic-Mutation.

What are Symptoms of Alzheimer's?

  • Forgetting recent information
  • Unable to perform simple tasks the victim use to be able to perform
    (Example: Following a Recipe)
  • Inability to carry out everyday tasks the patient was able to do before
  • Time and Place confusion
  • Difficulty following or Joining a conversation)
    (The victim may stop in the middle of sentence or repeat themselves)
  • Misplace objects or Place objects in an unusual place/new place
    -inability to retrace steps may lead to acquisitions of stealing
  • Difficulty with vocabulary
    (Example: "Watch" becomes "Hand-Clock")
  • Poor decision making
  • Difficulty judging distances and color
  • The patient becomes less social
  • Personality and/or mood changes

How is Alzheimer's dignosed?

The only way to exactly know if the patient is another victim of the illness is through an autopsy (body examination after death). More specifically some brain tissue through thorough examination. However, Doctors and Physicians ask a series of questions "about overall health, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities, and changes in behavior and personality:conduct tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language:carry out standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests, to identify other possible causes of the problem:perform brain scans, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to distinguish Alzheimer’s from other possible causes for symptoms. These tests may be repeated to give doctors information about how the person’s health and memory are changing over time. Tests can also help diagnose other causes of memory problems, such as mild cognitive impairment and vascular dementia.” http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/diagnosis

Are there any cures?

Unfortunately, even with today's medical technology, there is no cure for Alzheimer's Disease. However there is some medicines that are approved to HELP with some symptoms. “Donepezil (Aricept) is approved to treat all stages of Alzheimer's. Rivastigmine (Exelon) is approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's. Galantamine (Razadyne) is approved to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's.” says http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_standard_prescriptions.asp#types
These medicines may delay some of the symptoms, but they're not a cure for the Genetic-Mutation.