Alzheimer's Disease

By: Cassidy Dooley

About the disorder

Alzheimer's disease is a disease when it progressively memory and other important mental functions (Clinic staff 1). This disorder is caused by nondisjunction (Potter H 4). Nondisjunction is the failure of separation of one or more pairs of homologous chromosomes. The gene that is most affected by Alzheimer's is called Apolipoprotein E or also known as APOE. There are different forms of APOE: APOE e2 which is the least common type and it can appear as if it reduces the risk of Alzheimer's, APOE e4 which is a little more common and it increases the risk of Alzheimer's, and lastly APOE e3 is the most common but does not affect your risk of Alzheimer's (Clinic staff 3).

Prenatal Tests

Some prenatal tests incluide: brain imaging, genetic testing, and neuropsychological testing.

Types of brain imaging include:

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

It takes images of the brain using magnets and radio waves.

It can detect:

  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Developmental and structural abnormalities
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Problems with the blood vessels
CT (Computed Tomography) Scan

It uses x-ray technology and creates images of the brain.

It detects:

  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Inflammation
  • Skull fractures
  • Blood clots
  • Strokes
  • Brain tumors
  • Enlarged brain cavities
  • Other signs of brain disease
  • Helps rule out other possible conditions and diseases
PET (Position Emission Tomography) Scan

This is an imaging test that can provide info on how the brain and its tissues function on a cellular level. Also it can detect changes in glucose metabolism, oxygen metabolism, and blood flow.

Genetic Testing

Researchers know 10 genes associated with alzheimer’s. Having “AD” genes increase your risk of getting alzheimer’s.

Neuropsychological testing

During this testing you are asked questions and given instructions to test your mental state. The most common test is the mini-mental state exam.

(Leonard 1-2, 6, 8, 11, 14)

Population Affected by Alzheimer's Disease

Big image

More about Alzheimer's

Candidates for the disorder

Anyone who has the genes that can cause Alzheimer’s is a candidate for the disorder. Scientists have found more genes like PICALM, CLU, CR1, BIN1, MS4A4, and CDAP. Just because you carry any of the risk-factor genes, does not mean you will get Alzheimer’s disease (ADEAR 6).

How it is inherited

If you get the early-onset form of Alzheimer’s it is an autosomal dominant inheritance. This means that one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. Most of the time, you inherit it from having an affected parent (Alzheimer 9).

Medical Assistance

If the patient’s Alzheimer’s is severe enough, you will want to think about having the patient go to an assisted- living facility or Alzheimer's care facility. This will allow the patient to be assisted throughout their daily lives so they stay safe and as healthy as possible. There are also things you can do without the help of medical services like create a stable environment like down below:


Some things you can do to make a more stable environment for the person with Alzheimer’s is to make appointments on the same day and at the same time if possible. Also you can program the person’s location into their phone so if they get lost or confused you know where they are. Another thing you can do is remove clutter in their living space and put things in the same place every time (Staff 7).

Further assistance as they grow older

There are 3 different stages to Alzheimer’s and normally increases as you age. There is the mild, moderate, and severe stage. On average, a person lives 4 to 8 years after they are diagnosed but can also live up to 20 years. This is dependent upon the factors and severity of the disease.Once the person hits the severe stage, they need a lot of assistance. They normally require full time assistance with personal care, high levels of assistance relating to daily activities and personal care. They may lose the ability to walk, swallow, or sit, so they will need assisted with those things (Stages 1-14).

Long-term outlook

There are many factors that have to do with Alzheimer’s disease and the severity and outlook of your life. Long-term, the person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s most likely does not have long to live. The life expectancy can be determined with what age you were diagnosed at. Women on average live longer than men after being diagnosed.

Treatments and Cures

People with Alzheimer’s are treated with drugs, they need to have a safe and supportive environment, and there are different exercises they can do.


-Cholinesterase inhibitors: boost levels of a cell-to-cell communication chemical depleted in the brain by alzheimer's disease.

-Memantine- You can sometimes combine this medicine with Cholinesterase. Memantine slows down the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.


People with Alzheimer’s who exercise can help themselves improve with their mood and the health of their heart, joints, and muscles. It can also help them sleep better (Staff 1-3).

Prevention of the disease

There is no way to fully prevent yourself from getting Alzheimer’s disease, but there are ways you can reduce your risks of getting it. You can reduce it by eating right, exercising, staying mentally and socially active, and keeping stress in check. The choices you make in the beginning stages of your life that affect your brain could harm it in the long run and cause you to get Alzheimer’s. You want to make sure to keep your brain in a healthy lifestyle (Helpguide 1).

Can they have children?

People who get Alzheimer’s are normally at a old age and would not be able to have children even if they didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease. If you get diagnosed at a younger age like 30, which is the youngest know to be diagnosed with it, you can still chose to have children. That would not be the smartest decision because you can end up forgetting that you have kids which can lead to confusion and cause you to be frightened.

Affecting the children

You inherit part of your parents DNA, which causes the disease, so if your parents are affected by Alzheimer’s then you are more likely to be diagnosed later on in life. Half the children with a parent affected by the disease will eventually develop the disease (Affected 4).

Current Research

The current status on the disorder is that Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells. There are scientists and neuroscientists researching and creating new treatments and medicines every day in an effort to cure Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s association puts funds towards the scientists so they can continue their research and efforts to cure Alzheimer’s. There is much hope that one day everyone will be Alzheimer’s free (Future 1).

Cures/ New Treatment

Currently, it does not look like a cure is coming soon but there are many current treatment options that are up to date. Scientists are currently looking for new treatments and a cure to Alzheimer’s disease. The medication stated earlier is the best treatment option for a person with Alzheimer’s (Medication 1).