Alzheimer's Disease: What are we Forgetting? Essay

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Alzheimer's Disease: What are we Forgetting? Alzheimer's disease (pronounced Alz'-hi-merz) is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior. It was first described by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and has been diagnosed in millions of people to this day (1). This disease results, ultimately, in the destruction of the brain and brings new meaning and insights into just how much brain may equal behavior. Alzheimers is a degenerative disease that usually begins gradually, causing a person to have memory lapses in both basic knowledge and simple tasks (7). Alzheimers disease causes the formation of abnormal structures in the brain called plaques and tangles…show more content…
Age and family history, as with many other illnesses, have been identified as potential risk factors. One sight boasted that most families, however, do not have several immediate members who wind up with the disease unless it is the type of early onset Alzheimer's (ten percent of cases). However, another stated that there is a clear familial link (6). Most Alzheimer's patients develop the symptoms late in life (after the age of sixty-five) (1) (6). Various studies have improved our understanding of plaques and tangles in the brains of individuals with Alzheimers disease. A previously unknown lesion characteristic of Alzheimers disease may provide clues as to its origin. This lesion, called an AMY plaque, may play a role in the onset and progression of Alzheimers disease. Other areas of research include looking into the genetic factors related to the onset of the disease (4), the Ab protein and senile plaques (4), tau protein and neurofibrillary tangles (3), the role of estrogen in the brain, neurotransmitter deficiencies and dysfunction in brain cell communication, inflammation and its effect on brain cell activity, and oxidative stress and its effect on brain cell processes. Further research has proven fruitful and progress is being made continually which is helping to generate more accurate diagnostic tools and better treatment options for affected
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