Essay Preview: Alzheimers
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Alzheimers Disease is very mentally debilitating disease. It was discover in 1906, by Alois Alzheimer, a German Physician. He had a patient that was in her fifties and who seemed to be suffering from a mental illness. When she died in 1906, the autopsy revealed dense deposits, which are now called neurotic plaques. They were outside and around the nerve cells in her brain. In the cells were neurofibrillay tangles or twisted strands of fiber. Since, Dr. Alois Alzheimer discovered the disease Ad was named after him. AD being the abbreviation that stands for Alzheimers disease.
Amyloid has been link to AD as a causative agent. Amyloid us a protein deposit associated with tissue degeneration. It has been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimers disease.
A large amount has been learned about AD since the early part of this century. Especially concerning the nature of the plaques and tangles along with the regions in the brain that become affected as the disease progresses. The best predicting risk for developing AD is advancing age. Approximately 1% of individuals 60 years of age have AD, while 3% between 65 and 74 have the disease.
By age 85 at least 40% of individuals are diagnosed with AD. Women are about one and a half times more likely to suffer from Ad than men. This is believed to be because women on average live longer.
The most common form of dementia in older people is Alzheimers disease. It is important to remember that AD is not a normal part of aging. Scientist has found that nerve cells die in areas of the brain that are vital to memory and other mental abilities. Also connections between nerve cells are interrupted. Lower levels of chemicals that carry message back and forth between nerve cells in the brain have been discover in patients with Alzheimers disease. Scientist still does not understand what fully causes this disease.
Alzheimers disease progresses in stages. Early stage of AD includes many mild to severe symptoms based on the individual. Short-term memory loss in which the individual is normally aware of what is going on and the problems that occur. This involves repeating words and statements, and misplacing items. They often also lose their ability to say the correct names of people and things. Personality changes can also occur in the early stages of AD. The individual withdraws and becomes easily irritable and may even become very angry. Many go into depression because of the reason that they realize that they are unable to function mentally like they once did Theyre often restless and wander around seeming very lost. Most begin to lose the ability and will to perform everyday task such as grooming and hygiene.
Next comes the middle stage of AD, which includes increased severity of symptoms. Critical memory loss both short and long term along with extreme language impairment. They cannot seem to find the words to say what they think they want to say. They often have a terrible time communicating causing them to become very frustrated. Some even develop aphasia which is the inability to speak or express ones self. AD patients in the middle stage often overreact to situations causing them to be paranoid and hallucinate. Hallucinations can be described as seeing or hearing thing that dont exist. Some of them have angry outbursts and are physically violent. At this time they sometimes hide and hoard food and jewelry and other items they feel are important. They do this mostly because they are paranoid someone is going to steal them.
Finally there is what is called the late stage of Alzheimers disease. Here the patient had severe memory impairment; little or no memory at all. Extremely difficult to communicate rationally and express oneself. They are unable to speak or understand language at all at this point. Their mental state becomes so bad that they may not even recognize their own reflection. They often have bowel and bladder incontinence; which is where they are unable to hold their urine and feces to make it to the bathroom or even to get an adult brief. Often they lose the will and the ability to eat. This will obviously lead to significant weight loss, which in return will make them more susceptible to infections. They often revert back to an earlier time in their lives. For example they may think they have to pick their kids up from school when their kids are grown with kids of their own. Or they think they have lost their car keys when they do not own a car anymore. These are only a few scenarios is it very sad and hard to see a loved one go through this and not be able to do anything about it.
Normal anatomy verses the anatomy of someone with AD. Alzheimers disease is associated with characteristic histopathology, including neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques and cognitive dysfunction. (Braak and Braak, 1991) The degenerative changes in AD begin in the temporal lobe structures and later involve adjacent temporal parietal and frontal necrotic (Braak and Braak, 1991) Studies of AD consistently reveal marked volumes reductions in the hippocampus using cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches. (e.g. Jack et al, 1992) In contrast, MRI and diffusion tensor imaging suggest that atrophy in nondemented aging may be relatively grater in anterior regions. This would include the gray and white matter and striatal structures.
Accurate diagnosis of dementia is essential to provide appropriate treatment as well as family counseling. The diagnosis of Alzheimers disease has always been a complex and imprecise science. Vascular dementia is the most common of the Alzheimer “related dementias” (Rosler et al, 1996) this type of dementia is involved with mini strokes. Hyperthyroidism can cause dementia if a severe case is left untreated and can be misdiagnosed for AD. (Cohen, 50) Vitamin B12 and Foliate deficiency a fatal disease if left