Alzheimer's Disease Essay example

Alzheimer's Disease Essay example

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Alzheimer's Disease


On the first day of class, it was proposed that "Brain=Behavior," implying that not only all actions and emotions can be explained by neuronal activity, but also the very sense of self which is so important to many of us. This latter implication was met with considerable resistance. Surely there must be more to an individual's personality and Self than a bunch of patterns of activity across neurons. Through the research I have done for this paper, I have discovered that disorders such as Alzheimer's disease add a new twist to the debate surrounding the origin of the Self. My purpose here is to provide an overview of Alzheimer's disease, including its neurobiological basis, the differences between early and late onset, and some of the possible causes, and then to readdress the question of whether the Self can be traced to the Brain in light of this information.
Over the last few decades, Alzheimer's disease has come to be recognized as the most common form of dementia among the world's older population, affecting an estimated 4 million people in the United States alone (1, 2). It is characterized by progressive loss of memory, language and reasoning skills, and other cognitive functions, as well as changes in personality, such as increased aggressiveness (1, 2). No definite cause has been discovered, and it is as yet without a cure; however, much progress has been and continues to be made, and many scientists believe that a cure will eventually be developed.

Although the causes are unknown, research has shown that the disease begins in the entorhinal cortex and spreads first to the hippocampus and then proceeds to other parts of the brain, particularly the cerebral cortex. Since these two regions are ...


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...comprehensive summary of current research regarding the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer's, including care. In addition to this wealth of information, the site has excellent graphical representations accessible by links throughout the text, as well as a glossary of technical terms at the end.

2. http://hcs.harvard.edu:80/~husn/BRAIN/vol3/b96txt.html#EarlyandLate:

Early and Late Onset as Subdivisions of Alzheimer's Disease, an article by Elizabeth Kensinger published in the online journal, The Harvard BRAIN. Explores and explains research to date regarding these two different forms of Alzheimer's disease, covering the "symptomatic, biological, genetic, neurophysiological and neurological characteristics" of both early and late onset subtypes. Then proceeds to draw conclusions from this data, regarding future approaches to diagnosis and treatment.

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