Alzheimers Disease

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An Exploration of one of the Most Mysterious Diseases Alzheimer’s disease, named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, is a disease that is on the rise in America and the rest of the world. People should learn as much as they want about this disease, because as you age, your chances of becoming an Alzheimer’s Disease, or AD, patient increases. It is estimated that approximately 3 percent of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have the illness, and more than half of all people over age 85 have the ailment. AD is a form of dementia, a disease, that according to the Alzheimer's Disease Education & Referral Center is defined as: “…a group of symptoms that are caused by changes in brain function. Dementia symptoms may include asking the same questions repeatedly; becoming lost in familiar places; being unable to follow directions; getting disoriented about time, people, and places; and neglecting personal safety, hygiene, and nutrition. People with dementia lose their abilities at different rates.” It is not uncommon for AD patients to become lost and wander away from their homes, thus leading to a very disturbing and upsetting experience for family members. Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed before age 65, although rare, and is caused by a mutation in 3 known genes. About 5 percent of those who are under 65 and possess the ailment have AD in their family history. Given that the symptoms of AD are caused by plaque in the brain, causing loss of nerve cells that help the body communicate with the brain, mutations to these genes; amyloid precursor protein, presenilin 1, and presenilin 2 cause a excessive production of certain proteins (primarily a B-42 form of amyloid protein), and therefore spark an excessive growth of plaque cells which are toxic to the neurons of the brain. For those cases of Alzheimer’s that occur after age 65, a genetic mutation has yet to be proven, although some may be linked, to the fact that a difference may cause an increased chance of developing the ailment. Whatever the case may be for patients over 65 years old, the disease and its symptoms are caused by neurofibrillary tangles of almyloid plaques. It is impossible for someone to test positive for Alzheimer’s Disease, because the only way to determine an affirmative case i... ... middle of paper ... ...t one has it. Many scientists hypothesize that there is an inflammatory response in the brain when there is an extensive B-42 amassing. To slow or stop this, scientists theorize that the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, could delay the swelling in the brain. Also, as scientists have known that taking a multi-vitamin tablet each day is good for you, there has been recent research demonstrating that the use of antioxidants may protect neurons, not just the immune system and keeping the body healthy by providing vitamins and minerals. These special supplements protect the neurons from the effects of the accruing B-Amyloid that would likely cause the plaque that causes AD. Works Cited www.crystalinks.com/ alzheimers.html Picture of Brain Cross Section http://apt.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/6/3/193 Information on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia http://www.emental-health.com/alzh_biology.htm Information on the biology of Alzheimer’s Disease http://www.alznyc.org/ Information about Treatments and the AD community Delaware Valley Veterans Hospital- Alzheimer’s Ward- Allowing me to enter the facility and communicate with AD patients, nurses, and care-takers.

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