Exploring Alzheimer's Disease

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Exploring Alzheimer's Disease

Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders requires several criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia. These include impairment in memory, disturbances in cognitive and executive functioning, and impairment in occupational or social functions. Cognitive disturbances may include one or more of the following: aphasia, apraxia, and agnosia. Cognitive deficits must demonstrate decline from previous levels of functioning and are characterized by gradual onset. Furthermore, cognitive disturbances must not be due to other central nervous system and or systemic disorders that are known to cause dementia or are accounted for by another psychiatric disorder. It is important to note that a definite diagnosis of Alzheimer's can only be made post-mortem.

Facts about Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and is becoming a larger problem as the life expectancy increases. It is the most prevalent of cognitive impairments in older people. Alzheimer's shortens life expectancy substantially: the typical duration is 8 to 10 years. Deaths are attributable to intervening illnesses unrelated or indirectly related to the disease and terminal complications. An even more devastating feature of Alzheimer's is the impact it has on the patient's family. Caregivers report feeling helpless, frustrated and irritable. Families often become impoverished before the patient is eligible to receive financial support. Furthermore, almost half of the family caregivers become clinically depressed. In the last few years, research has made great strides in understanding this Alzheimer's. Specifically, in the areas of ne...

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Works Cited

Connor, B.; Young, D.; Yan, Q.; Faull, R.L.M.; Synek, B.; Dragunow, M. (1997). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is reduced in Alzheimer's disease. Molecular Brain Research. 49:1-2 (Oct 3); 71-81.

Gonzalez-Salvador, M. T.; Arango, C.; Lyketsos, C. G.; Barba, A. C. (1999). The stress and psychological morbidity of the Alzheimer patient caregiver. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 14, 701-710.

Reiman, E. M.; & Caselli, R. J. (1999). Alzheimer's disease. Maturitas: the European menopause journal. 31, 185-200. Richard, F.; & Amouyel, P. (2001). Genetic susceptibility factors for Alzheimer's disease. European Journal of Pharmacology. 412:1 (Jan 19); 1-12

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