Alzheimer 's A Progressive Neurodegenerative Disease

860 Words Nov 5th, 2014 4 Pages
Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that steadily destroys the memory and other important mental functions such as social skills, intellect, and memory (4).
Although the exact cause of Alzheimer’s is not known, most cases of the disease are caused by genetic mutations passed from the parent to the child (1). There are several genes associated with Alzheimer’s one in particular is apolipoprotein E (1). The presence of one or more of these genes does not necessarily mean that the person will develop Alzheimer’s however; it does increase the risk (5). Several environmental factors and lifestyle choices responsible for damage to blood vessels in the brain also contribute to the development of the disease (4). These factors include, past trauma to the head, cardiovascular disease, smoking, diabetes, or a poor diet (4).
Cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease occurs when synapses, which transmit information from one neuron to another, become interrupted and communication ceases (7). The result is death of the nerve cell within the brain, also referred to as synaptic failure (6). Synaptic failure takes place when amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles develop (7). Amyloid plaque develops from amyloid beta proteins, which are released by enzymes from the amyloid precursor protein that is located on the surface of the neuron (7). The amyloid beta proteins are normally cleared within the body once they are released however, in…
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