Anatomy & Physiology Band 3
December 19, 2012
Townsend Harris High School Irene Joseph Anatomy & Physiology Band 3 December 19, 2012 Disease Paper: Alzheimer’s
I/II. What is Alzheimer’s and What Causes It?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and social/behavioral skills. The direct cause of it is not yet fully understood, but based on studies, the disease seems to be a result of the combination of genetic material, lifestyle, and environmental factors that affect the brain. While Alzheimer’s is most commonly found among people above the age of 65, it is not what would considered a normal part of aging. However, it is the most common risk factor for this disease. As the age of a person reaches 65, the risk of getting this disease doubles every five years. III. Effects on the Body
The effects of Alzheimer’s are directly brought upon by what happens to the brain. Brain cells are damaged and killed; the brain of an individual with the disease has many fewer cells than the average, functioning brain. Between the very few surviving cells, there are also many fewer connections. Due to this, the brain goes through severe shrinkage. This may be due to the plaques and tangles that form within the organ that disrupt proper cell to cell communication and inhibit the transport of essential nutrients and other materials. The effects of Alzheimer’s on the individual worsen over time as the brain deteriorates. According to Barry Reisberg, M.D., clinical director of the New York University School of Medicine's Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center, Alzheimer’s can be split up into seven stages. In first stage of the disease, there are absolutely no symptoms and the person functions normally with no signs of dementia. This usually lasts up to eight years. Soon afterwards, the person experiences very mild cognitive decline in which he feels that he has...