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Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer's Disease

If we accept that the brain's ability to "fill in the blanks" about each experience we have, then we can conclude that our past is indeed partially our own brain's creature. However, there are still some norms created by people that define certain experiences as normal and others as not. What happens when a person starts to behave ab-normally? How is his/her brain filling the blanks in a different manner? To discuss this subject we would discuss the most common form of dementia among old people, the Alzheimer's disease.

Dementia is a brain disorder, a loss of intellectual function (thinking, remembering, reasoning), which substantially affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities. Alzheimer's disease (AD), a form of progressive, irreversible dementia with no known cause or cure, first described in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, causes damage to the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. The consequences of the disease in terms of the patient's lifestyle are often times confused with the natural syndromes of aging. However, AD is not a normal part of aging.

The processes which occur in an AD patient are still extensively researched. Nerve cells in the regions controlling the above mentioned faculties are lost and certain neurotransmitters' performance is damaged. The two most affected types of brain cells by AD are neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. While some neuritic plaques are commonly found in brains of elderly people, they appear in excessive numbers in the cerebral cortex of Alzheimer patients. Neurofibrillary tangles are twisted remnants of a protein called tau, found inside brain cells and crucial for maintaining proper cell structur...

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...involves destruction of brain cells as supposed to pure aging. This provokes the question of the extent to which yourself, everything you associate as being your personality, your memories, your knowledge, is vulnerable and how everything that defines a "self" could be destroyed.

References

1) Alzheimer's Society information sheet

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web3/www.alzheinmers.org.uk

2) About Alzheimer's Disease – Symptoms, Risk factors, etc.

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web3/www.ahaf.org/alzdis

3) Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet.

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web3/www.alzheimers.org/pubs

4) Alzheimer's Association

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web3/www.alz.org

5) Neurology Forum

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web3/www.neurologychannel.com/alzheimers<br>
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