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What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's Disease, also known as AD, is a progressive fatal brain disease.

It causes memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior which affects daily life. The Alzheimer disease gets worse over time and it is fatal.


It is also the most common kind of Dementia, brain disorders that causes memory loss and decline in mental function.



Risk Factors

Aging - Elderly are most likely to develop AD. The risk of having AD doubles about every 5 years after age 65, after age 85 the risk reaches nearly 50%


Heredity and Family history - If those who has family members with AD, they have a high risk of getting it. There are also two types of genes which determines whether a person would develop AD.

Environment - strong link between head injury and future risk of AD


ADACgraphNewAD.jpgHerbert et al. (2001). Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 15(4), 169-173.

What is actually happening inside the brain?


AD causes nerve cells in the brain (neurons) to deteriorate and die, it also causes tissue loss through out the brain.

three_brains.pngOvertime, the brain shrinks dramatically loosing almost all it's functions.

brain_changes.pngThe cortex and the hippocampus shrinks causing loss of new memories and trouble thinking and remembering.

Experts believe that the two abnormal structures, Plaques (build up between nerve cells) and Tangles (form inside dying cells) somehow block communication among nerve cells and disrupts activities that cells need to survive. Scientists are still trying to find out if they play a role in the Alzheimer's Disease.


Go on a Brain Tour to find out more!

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_4719.asp



What causes AD?

Scientists are still finding a cause for AD.


Stages of AD

stages_of_ad.pngPeople with AD lives up to an average of 8 years, some people might even live up to 20 years.


Symptoms and Signs

  1. Memory loss

  2. Solving Problems

  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home

  4. Confusion with time or place

  5. Replacing things and losing the ability to retrace

  6. Poor judgement

  7. Withdrawal from social activities

  8. Change of mood and personality


Signs of AD vs Typical age - related changes

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Is there a cure?


There is no cure for AD, but there are treatments that could treat the symptoms. There are drugs that could treat the symptoms. Maintaining a good and healthy life style is important as well.


Sources:
Alzheimer's Association National Office (2010). What is Alzheimer's. Retrieved 23 Aug 2010. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

Alzheimer's Association National Office (2010). Inside the Brain: Interactive Tour. Retrieved 23 Aug 2010. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_4719.asp

n.d. Symptoms and Stages. Retrieved 25 Aug 2010. http://www.helpguide.org/elder/alzheimers_disease_symptoms_stages.htm


Thank you for reading!


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