Issues in Women's Health
Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, affecting
thought, memory and language. The essential elements of AD are
represented by a decline in cognitive functions, an impairment of daily
living activities and a progressive course of the disease. The only way
to definitively diagnosis this disease is after death when the brain can
be examined. As the average life expectancy continues to increase, the
incidence and treatment of AD is expected to become a major public
health challenge. The current management plan is to preserve and
maintain quality of life for as long as possible. The clinical
expectation for the future includes an improved understanding of both
the genetic and the environmental risk factors associated with the
development of AD. Early treatment plans must be developed as
researchers work towards the ultimate goal- prevention of the disease.
� � ���Symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) date back to
ninth century B.C. (Medina, 1999). Modern day AD was first described in
1907, by Alois Alzheimer and was, at that time, considered to be a rare
neurological disorder. It would take nearly eighty years before Glenner
(1984) would identify the molecular structure of the B-amyloid protein
and its connection to AD.� This discovery paved the way for Trojanowski
and M-Y Lee (1991) to prove the building blocks of the neurofibrillary
tangles inside the neuron were the protein tau.
� � � AD is recognized as the most prevalent form of dementia,
accounting for almost 80% of all clinical diagnosis (Medina,1999).
Clinicians are unable to conclusively diagnose this disease without
performing an autopsy and examining the sections under a microscope.
Post mortem examination of the cerebral cortex reveals cerebral atrophy,
as well as, neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques. AD is the only
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