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Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer's Disease Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive degenerative disease of

unknown aetiology, as first described by Alois Alzheimer (1907).

According to Shoenberg et. al (1987), it is the commonest cause of

dementia in the elderly with an incidence ranging from 2.5 to 5 per

thousand. Furthermore, this incidence has grown in recent years as a

result people generally living longer. The disease is incurable at

present but there are drug treatments that delay the symptoms in the

early stages. Therefore, there is a real need for early

identification of the disease, so that a treatment program can be

administered.

In the later stages of AD, there are typical neurological signs of the

disease. These are plaques and tangles in the hippocampal region of

the brain. However, it may be a while into the disease before these

can be detected by diagnostic tools such as CT, MRI and fMRI. In

addition, reliance on these tools can lead to a false diagnosis of AD,

where some form of vascular dementia is actually the cause. In fact,

according to Brazzelli et al. (1994), there is no unequivocal

instrumental test to establish the presence of the disease.

Therefore, it is also common practice to establish the

neuropsychological symptoms of AD. Numerous studies have been

conducted into the neuropsychiatric symptoms of AD so that diagnosis

can be as accurate as possible.

According to Venneri, Turnbull and Sala (1996) the low contribution of

neurological and neuroradiological examination to the diagnosis of AD

in its early stages raises severe ...

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..., A. (2002). The emergence of delusional

companions in Alzheimer’s Disease: An unusual misidentification

syndrome.

Sheonberg, B. S., Kokmen, E., & Okazaki, H. (1987). In Venneri, A.,

Turnball, O. V., & Sala, S. D. (1996). The Taxonomic Perspective:

The Neuropsychological Diagnosis of Dementia. Revue Europé de

Psychologie Appliquée, 3rd trimester. 46, 179-190.

Sultzer, D. L., Brown, C. V., Mandelkern, M. A., Mahler, M. E.,

Mendez, M. F., Chen, S. T., Cummings, J. L. (2003). Delusional

Thoughts and Regional Frontal/Temporal Cortex Metabolism in

Alzheimer’s Disease. American Journal of Psychiatry. 160, 341-349.

Venneri, A., Turnball, O. V., & Sala, S. D. (1996). The Taxonomic

Perspective: The Neuropsychological Diagnosis of Dementia. Revue

Europé de Psychologie Appliquée, 3rd trimester. 46, 179-190.
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