“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, and the things you never want to lose.” -Kevin Arnold Memories are the things we uphold. Whether it’s bad or good, those memories are engraved in us and can not be stolen from us. But what if as times goes by, those memories are losing? Worst, you’re even losing your language skills, ability to recognize familiar things and you feel a sense of depression. This means, as a person grow old he or she experiences deterioration in one’s self. Now, we are currently living in the age of technology. Our advancements in the pastfew decades overshadow everything learned in the last 2000 years. This increase has brought with it a large increase in diseases associated with old age. Alzheimer's disease(AD) is one of the most common and feared diseases afflicting the elderly community. AD, once thought to be a natural part of aging, is a severely debilitating form of mental dementia. Although some other types of dementia are curable or effectively treatable, there is currently no cure for the Alzheimer variety. A general overview of Alzheimer's disease including the clinical description, diagnosis, and progression of symptoms, helps one to further understand the treatment and care of patients, the scope of the problem, and current research .
History of Alzheimer’s Disease
Progressive mental deterioration in old age has been recognized and described throughout history. However, it was not until 1906 that a German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, specifically identified a collection of brain cell abnormalities as a disease. One of Dr. Alzheimer’s patients died after years of severe memory problems, confusion and difficulty understanding questions. Upon her death, while performing a brain autopsy, thedoctor noted dense deposits surrounding the nerve cells (neuritic plaques). Inside the nerve cells he observed twisted bands of fibers (neurofibrillary tangles). Today, this degenerative brain disorder bears his name, and when found during an autopsy, these plaques and tangles mean a definite diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease . Since its discovery more than 100 years ago, there have been many scientific break throughs in AD research. In the 1960s, scientists discovered a link between cognitive decline and the number of plaques and tangles in the brain. The medical community then formally recognized Alzheimer’s as a disease and not a normal part of aging. In the 1970s,scientists made great studies in understanding the human body as a whole, and AD emerged as a significant area of research interest. This increased attention led in the 1990s to important discoveries and a better understanding of complex nerve cells in the brains of AD patients. More research was done on AD susceptibility genes, and several drugs were approved to treat the cognitive symptoms of the disease. There are two types of Alzeihmer’s disease -- early onset and late onset. In early onset AD, symptoms first appear before age 60. Early onset AD is much less common than late onset; however, it tends to progress rapidly. Early onset disease can run in families due to several genes have been identified. Late onset AD, the most common form of the disease, develops in people age 60 and older it also may run in some families, but the role of genes is less clear. Over the last decade, scientists progressed in understanding potential environmental, genetic and other risk factors for AD, the processes leading to formation of plaques and tangles in the brain,and the brain regions that are affected. Specific genes related to both the early-onset and late-onset forms of AD have been identified, but genetic risk factors alone do not fully explain its causes, so researchers are actively exploring environment and lifestyle to learn what role they might play in the development of this disease. Also, the drugs currently in use treat only the symptoms, not the cause of the disorder, and they only...
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