Alzheimer's Disease - Essay

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Alzheimer’s Disease

Jessica Gladstone

100141971

HKIN 2252
Section 1
Professor H. Smith
Douglas College
June 16, 2009

We live in an advanced world of technology and medicine. As much as many things positively impact society, numerous may also have a negative effect. Throughout the years, we were able to create cures through medicine that have allowed the life expectancy of the older generation to outlast the previous ones. But for many seniors, new problems arise that still require an antidote with the help of research and development. Even though females have a higher rate in life expectancy, they also have a greater chance in degenerating diseases; but both have an equal chance in getting a specific disease. One of which is the most common form of Dementia called Alzheimer’s that is caused within old age. Alzheimer causes memory loss and it goes from losing a little portion to even forgetting your entire past. This paper will discuss what happens with Alzheimer’s, who it targets, what are the signs of detecting this disease, and if there is a way to cure it. Alzheimer’s was first discovered in the early 1900’s by a German physician, Alois Alzheimer. He discovered the disease while observing a patient, a 51 year old woman named Frau Auguste D., who developed symptoms of memory loss and had difficulty understandings and speaking. After a few years of observations, Dr. Alxheimer discovered a progression of the symptoms which inevitably led to the death of the patient. Upon autopsy, abnormal impairment of the brain was discovered, along with a remarkable shrinkage within the cortex and outer layer that affected her thinking, judgment, speech and functioning[1]. Furthermore, he also observed small blood vessels filled with a widespread of fatty deposits and dead brain cells. From his findings he concluded that _________ it was in fact a degenerative disease. In November 1906, Dr. Alzheimer presented his findings at a scientific meeting; they were published and posted in medical literature in 1907. As we get older, so does our body mind and soul as well as the alarming rate of being diagnosed with Alzheimer. Between the ages of 65 and 75, it can reach an estimated 1 in 20 people and 1 in 5 over the age of 80. It now reaches people as young as 40 and as the years go by, this disease would have a greater impact and target more people. Many don’t know why this disease occurs so rapidly. It could be that our minds are not built to last as long as our body now does. It can only absorb so much information that once at old age; the brain cannot produce any more new cells. As with getting wrinkles, grey hair, vision impairment and many more things, it’s a natural way of life to live and die including the slow deterioration of the brain. It’s normal for old people to forget especially since their brain doesn’t function as well as it used to but when their memory problems become so severe that they cannot function alone, well then it’s abnormal. This disease reaches many individuals each year but who exactly is more likely to retrieve it within the older population? Although factors within the environment may have some contributions, what really increases the chances of retrieving this disease is through genetic predisposition. If your family or ancestors carried out this disease, then the possible chances of you retrieving it is very extensive. There is a very wide connection with those diagnosed with Down syndrome that may be connected with Alzheimer’s. Down syndrome contains an extra chromosome 21 which causes the early stages of development in dementia at age 35. The occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease is very relative with patients possessing Down syndrome. Families that have high rates of Alzheimer’s have been found to have mutations in chromosome 14 and 1; resulting in the production of irregular proteins. If a parent with Alzheimer’s inherits one of these mutated genes then other family...
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