The Role of Genetics in Alzheimer's Disease Essay

The Role of Genetics in Alzheimer's Disease Essay

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The Role of Genetics in Alzheimer's Disease


The call came at 9:05 p.m. on January 20, 2004. Mom had just finished telling the news about the girl's grandfather. He had Alzheimer's Disease and was not doing well at all. The ruling was that he probably would not make it through the night. She knew exactly what the news was the moment her mom said, "No." After the news came, the decision was made they would leave the next day to attend the funeral.

This girl began wondering, "If grandpa had Alzheimer's do I have a chance of getting it too? What can I do to avoid getting it? He suffered so much, I don't want to go through that." What if a person's genetics have something to do with whether or not they will get Alzheimer's? What are possible ways to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease? Genetics might have something to do with whether or not one will get Alzheimer's but their chances of avoiding the disease are better if they take care of themselves.

Let us start with some general history and facts and then proceed to the specifics. Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is named after a German doctor, Alois Alzheimer. He discovered the disease in 1906, while doing an autopsy on a woman who had died from an unusual mental illness. Dr. Alzheimer noted unique changes in the brain tissue (U.S 1995). His findings included clumps, which are also known as plaques, and tangled fibers, also called neurofibrillary tangles. These findings have become "hallmarks of AD" (U.S. 1995). AD is now considered the most common form of dementia (Travis).

Researchers from New York State did autopsies on 87 people who were seen at a dementia clinic to find out if any of them showed signs of a cerebrovascular disease. They all did and 87% of them also ...


... middle of paper ...


...1 December 2003). Alzheimer's in the Family. Time. P 86-87

National Institute of Aging. (2002). Alzheimer's Disease: Unraveling the Mystery. National Institute of Mental Health (1994). Alzheimer's Disease: Decade of the Brain. P. 12-13. National Institute of Health.

Nolan KA, Lino MM, Seligmann AW, et al. (August 1998). Alzheimer's may play a
Greater role in 'vascular' dementia. Geriatrics. V. 53 Issue 8, p81, 2p.

Shenk, D. (2001). The Forgetting Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic. New York:
Doubleday.

Travis, J. (20 September, 2003). A Surprising Role For Alzheimer's Proteins?
Science News. V.152, Issue 12, p182, 2p

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1995). Alzheimer's Disease. National
Institutes of Health.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1997). Alzheimer's Disease Genetics.

National Institutes of Health

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