Alzheimer's Awareness

Maria Chosa

Interest

Alzheimer's affects about 44 million people, ranking 5th leading cause of death in America. Members of my family have had Alzheimer's. This flyer will inform many people about this disease and hopefully help people that struggle with a loved one affected by Alzheimer's. In order to help them cope and understand what is happening with the life of their loved one.

What is Alzheimer's

According to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), "Alzheimer's is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes." Alzheimer's essentially destroys memory and other major mental functions. There is no cure, however medications and clinical trails are available.

Dr. Alois Alzheimer

In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer, a German physician, studied the brain tissue of a 51 year old woman who had died of an unfamiliar mental illness. She suffered memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. Dr. Alois Alzheimer found, in his autopsy, many abnormal clumps, known as amyloid plaques, and tangled bundles of fibers, knowns as neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles. This research lead to the naming of Alzheimer's Disease.

Effects on the brain

Brain cells start to degenerate and die, eventually destroying memory and certain mental functions. Scientists continue to study the brain changes involved in with Alzheimer’s. Scientists have noticed that damage to the brain starts as early as a decade or more before mental problems occur. Patients in this stage of the disease do not show symptoms, but toxic changes are happening within their brain. The damage of abnormal deposits of proteins, creating amyloid plaques and tau tangles, appears to unravel within the hippocampus, the memory part of one's brain. More parts of the brain become affected, and begin to shrink, as an increasing amount of neurons, connected to other neurons, die. In the final stage, damage is spread throughout the brain, and its tissue has shrunk to dangeroys extents.

Interesting Facts

  • More than 10.9 million Americans care for patients without payment.
  • 166,990,902 Americans have been affected by Alzheimer’s diseasein one way or another.
  • People who eat diets with high saturated fats have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while people who eat diets high in antioxidants decrease their risk.
  • Researchers focus more on supporting caregivers to Alzheimer's patients. These caregivers spend more than 13 hours everyday day caring for loved ones affected by this disease.