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Scientists believe that for most people, Alzheimer's results from a combination of genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. Alzheimer's is caused by specific genetic changes that virtually guarantee a person will develop the disease. The causal effect for this disease is still unknown with fingers pointing to plaques and tangles in the brain. Although the causes of Alzheimer's are not yet fully understood, its effect on the brain is clear. Alzheimer's disease damages and kills brain cells. A brain affected by Alzheimer's disease has many fewer cells and many fewer connections among surviving cells than does a healthy brain. As more and more brain cells die, Alzheimer's leads to enormous brain shrinkage. When doctors examined an Alzheimer's brain tissue under the microscope, they saw two types of abnormalities that are considered the cause of the disease. One of these abnormalities is plaques that clump up, a protein called beta-amyloid which damages and destroys brain cells. In patients with Alzheimer’s the plaques created interfere with cell to cell communication. The other abnormality seen is tangles in the brain. Brain cells depend on an internal support and transport system to carry nutrients and other essential materials throughout their long extensions. This system requires the normal structure and functioning of a protein called tau. In an Alzheimer's patient, the threads of tau protein twist into abnormal tangles inside the brain cells, leading to failure of the transport system. (Alzheimer's Association) (National Institutes of Health, 2012) There are three stages towards Alzheimer’s and one should be aware of the important signs and symptoms. For instance, one should be aware of co... ... middle of paper ... ... Furthermore, the patients with Alzheimer's have trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room with them. They often have trouble recognize their own reflection. (Alzheimer's Association) (Mayo Clinic) Works Cited Alzheimer's Association. (n.d.). Alzheimer's Association. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from Alzheimer's Association: Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from Alzheimer's Disease: National Institutes of Health. (2012, September). Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet. Retrieved from National Institute on Aging:
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