Title of Essay
Wharton County Junior College
January 4th, 2016
Title of Essay
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that results in memory loss and a decrease in cognitive functions. It is the most prevalent form of dementia worldwide. The disease was first described by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German neuropathologist and psychiatrist in 1906. He had a patient who had been experiencing memory loss, difficulty speaking, and atypical behavior. After studying the brain of the 55-year-old female, Alzheimer detected a mass of intertwined bunches of protein. He attributed the plaques of proteins as the cause to her brain’s degeneration. Alzheimer coined the term “presenile dementia” to describe the disease, and after his death a colleague named it Alzheimer’s disease.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are caused by two separate problems within the brain. Outside of the nerve cells, an excess of clusters of proteins surround healthy nerves. These proteins are called beta-amyloid peptides, and they interrupt the signaling between neurons. The disruption blocks the neurons from relaying messages, which explains why patients suffer from confusion, memory loss, and have trouble doing menial tasks. While the signals are being blocked from the outside, a different protein, called tau protein, disrupts the inside of the cells. The tau protein causes a buildup of strands that congest the neurons. Electrical signals through the nerve cells are disrupted and eventually cause the cell to die. This accumulation of tangled tau proteins also damages the surrounding nerve cells, resulting in large portions of brain tissue wasting away (Mar...
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