Social Effects of Alzheimer's

Topics: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Brain Pages: 3 (1288 words) Published: May 5, 2010
“What Are the Social Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease?”
  The growing epidemic of Alzheimer’s Disease plagues more than 4 million people nationwide, according to the National Institute for Aging. The social and financial costs associated with Alzheimer’s Disease are on the rise with no relief in sight.  Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), is the most common form of Dementia. It is an irreversible disease that destroys the brain over a period of time. AD is equivalent to child development in reverse. Scientists have found that AD patients share the abnormal processing and degradation of the beta-amyloid precursor protein.  Scientists have noted that there are 2 changes in the brain cells. That is plaque and tangles. Plaques are made up of a sticky protein called beta amyloid, which builds up into small, sticky clumps in the cortex of the brain, intermingled with the functioning nerve cells. Tangles are made up of tau molecules, which normally form tiny tubes that support the structure of the brain cell. In Alzheimer’s patients, the molecules change shape so that the tubes collapse, causing the cell to shrink and die. It is still unknown how these changes occur. Alois Alzheimer first identified this disease in 1907. Generally, a person can develop this disease anywhere from 2 to 20 years after the first warning signs appear. Both men and women can become effected by AD. The older person is more likely to have it than the younger person.  Rare inherited forms of AD such as Familal AD, can develop in individuals as early as their 30's and 40's. Most people develop it between the ages of 65 and 75 years old.  AD has no single cause, but in the last 15 years, scientists have found several risk factors that increase one’s likelihood in developing the disease.  One of the main risk factors is increasing age. According to the Multi-Institutional Research in Alzheimer’s Genetic Epidemiology (MIRAGE) project based at Boston University School of Medicine shows that at all ages a...
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