During the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people are asymptomatic, but unfortunately there are toxic changes taking place in the brain. Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain, causing the once-healthy neurons to work less efficiently. Over time, neurons lose the ... ... middle of paper ... ...ww.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_4719.asp (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/causes (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/treatment (n.d.).
One theory regarding the cause of Alzheimer’s disease suggests that this plaque forms because the processes that normally operate to clear away this protein have become defective. Neurofibillary tangles are skeins of another abnormal protein, but the tangle is found inside the nerve cells. The reason why the tangles develop is not known, but the normal processing of protein by the cell seems to be disrupted. These tangles choke the nerve cells and prevent them for working properly. For reasons not well understood, these plaques and tangles take over healthy brain tissue, which devastates the areas of the brain associated with intellectual function.
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.
However, some cases can be much more severe, and can have a variety of etiologies. When loss of memory and other mental functions becomes more severe, the condition is known as dementia. Dementia is an organic brain syndrome, which results in global cognitive impairments and can occur as a result of a variety of neurological diseases. Cortical dementias arise from a disorder that affects the cerebral cortex, the outer covers of the brain that play an important role in thinking capabilities such as memory and language. One of the most common types of dementia is dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (Veselinova, 2013).
“Plaques are chains of amino acids that are pieces of the amyloid precursor protein…tangles are aggregates of the protein tau” (Secko 1). As plaques develop they produce tangles and “these two abnormalities ultimately lead to loss of cognitive function” (Secko 1) Alois Alzheimer’s research has allowed many specialist to conclude that the apolipoproetein E gene may contribute to the disease. Alzheimer 2 The occurrence and deposits of these proteins in the brain and in the body may ultimately lead to whether or not someone will be susceptible and diagnosed with Alzheimer disease. Alzheimer’s disease is rising at a very high rate. “The number of new cases per year is estimated at 360,000 equating to 980 new cases per day or 40 new cases every hour” (Cummings and Cole 1) This evidence shows that an increasing number of people will discover the effects of a cognitive impairment that will most likely be due to Alzheimer’s disease.
1. Introduction Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that is on the rise among ageing populations worldwide. Alzheimer’s disease leads to the death of neurons in numerous areas of the brain, including the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, which are two areas of the brain correlated with memory. (5) According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease could rise from 5 million to 16 million in the United States and by 2050 the total worldwide is predicted to rise to 100 million. This could relentlessly strain health-care systems because the Disease is so persistent, disabling, and costly.
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.
The inadequate production of cortisol and often deficient levels of aldosterone and adrenal androgens can result in the body attacking itself (autoimmune disease), thus becoming life-threatening. When these hormones are not producing sufficiently it can be detrimental to the body because they are essential for life. The MayoClinic website states the hormone cortisol is necessary and without it can result in excessive levels of potassium and low levels of salt, causing an electrolyte imbalance in the body. It can also hinder the body’s ability to convert foods into energy, affects the body’s inflammatory response, and impede the body’s ability to respond to stress appropriately. It also can affect a person’s overall mental well-being by influencing sexual development among males and females by causing diminished libido and muscle mass.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that has behaviors that go along with it. In this disease, the orderly system of the brain becomes damaged and no longer works properly. “The brains of Alzheimer 's disease victims appear shrunken, particularly in large parts of the neocortex, the outer layer of gray matter responsible for higher brain functions such as thought and memory” (“Alzheimer’s Disease,” 2015). It usually begins with minor memory loss of recent events. This memory loss is slowly joined with forgetfulness, cluelessness of hygiene, impaired judgement, and loss of concentration.
The disease may also produce changes in personality, behavior, and mood, such as depression, apathy, and withdrawal or baseless fears and aggressive behavior. Alzheimer disease is a condition that causes the nerve cells in the brain to degenerate and the brain matter to shrink. It affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. It can only be diagnosed by a histopathologic examination, to check for the presence of tangles and plaques, which are primary causes of Alzheimer's. Neurofibrillary tangles are bundles of twisted fibers that accumulate in the cell bodies of neurons.