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Articles on Alzheimer

Alzheimer's disease is named after the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer who first expounded on the ailment in 1906.  Alzheimer's disease is defined as "the physical and mental infirmity of old age".  The word Alzheimer's often signifies deep despair.  Generally, it strikes old folks, those aged 60 and above, with the prevalence ratio significantly higher as one goes up the ladder of aging.  From 60 to 65, the prevalence is as much as two percent.  At 80 to 85, it is as high as 25 percent.  As we grow older, our brains shrink and lose about 10 percent of their weight.  These loss of nerve cells over the years will result in a decline in intellectual capacity and slow down the brain activity.  We are not so good in memorizing or learning new skills as we grow older and there may be lapses in short-term memory.  Our reflex actions which will become slower does not indicate a brain disease, instead are normal parts of aging.  While it is important to accept the realities that go with aging, it is also crucial that we are aware of the difference between the natural effects of aging and symptoms of certain diseases.  To some people, for instance, equate memory loss with disease.  Others, on the other hand, accept tremor or senility as inevitable parts of aging.  While loss of function cause by brain cell destruction can be very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse, early detection of brain diseases can help slow down the debilitating effects of such diseases and can make a big difference in the quality of life of both the patient and his family members.


In recent years, medical and social scientists have become more precise about the mental problems of aging and more important, more aggressive about the possibilities of reversing or even "curing" some problems of aging formerly dismissed as "simple senility".  Alzheimer's disease is a devastating dementia that can affect people as they grow older.  Abnormal clumps, called amyloid plaques, and tangled bundles of fibers, called neurofibrillary tangles, are considered hallmarks of the disease.  Currently there is no cure, no surefire treatments and no reliable way to diagnose Alzheimer's, especially in the early stages. However, if we can intervene earlier, we can make a difference.  Alzheimer's may begin very much earlier before symptoms are evident.  There are some medications that address symptoms or delay symptoms when given at a very early stage.  This makes early detection much more vital.  During the early stages of the disease, the patient loses his memory and concentration.  In the later stages, he experiences biological depression.  Because of the chemical imbalances in the brain, the patient begins to have emotional disturbances.  The more precise word for the condition most people label as senility is dementia - the usually gradual development of widespread intellectual impairment including failing attention, loss of memory, decreased ability to handle numerical calculations, communication deficiencies, changes in personality and loss of orientation for time and place.  Alzheimer's is the most common type of primary dementia.  Personality changes in irritability, loss of humor, etc. usually accompany the actual intellectual deficits.  In addition, some elderly persons may experience a mental state more accurately described as delirium, the usually more sudden development of dramatic changes including confusion, hallucinations, and rather sudden alterations in the degree of alertness.  Delirium is more likely to have reversible causes such as, sudden medical illness or alcohol withdrawal, though it may also be superimposed on the process of gradual intellectual deterioration.


  1. Causes of Alzheimer Disease




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