What happens to the brain in alzheimers disease

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 179
  • Published : April 14, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
Today I will inform my audience of the history of Alzheimer’s , what happens to the brain in alzheimers disease; the stages as well as treatment. Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear after age 60 but it can precent itself sooner. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people.The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles).Plaques and tangles in the brain are two of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. The third is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. -------------------------------------------------

What happens to the brain in Alzheimer's disease?
Although we still don’t know how the Alzheimer’s disease process begins, it seems likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before problems become evident. During the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people are free of symptoms, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain. Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain, and once-healthy neurons begin to work less efficiently. Over time, neurons lose the ability to function and communicate with each other, and eventually they die. Before long, the damage spreads to a nearby structure in the brain called the hippocampus, which is essential in forming memories. As more neurons die, affected brain regions begin to shrink. By the final stage of Alzheimer’s, damage is widespread, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly. How many Americans have Alzheimer’s disease? Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Unless the disease can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with it will increase significantly if current population trends continue. That’s because the risk of Alzheimer’s increases with age, and the U.S. population is aging. The number of people with Alzheimer’s doubles for every 5-year interval beyond age 65. How long can a person live with Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s is a slow disease that progresses in three stages—an early, preclinical stage with no symptoms, a middle stage of mild cognitive impairment, and a final stage of Alzheimer’s dementia. The time from diagnosis to death varies—as little as 3 or 4 years if the person is older than 80 when diagnosed to as long as 10 or more years if the person is Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or progress at the same rate the 7 stages that I will be going over was developed by Dr.Barry Reisberg clinical director of the New York University of Medicine Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center.

Stage 1:| No impairment (normal function)
The person does not experience any memory problems. An interview with a medical professional does not show any evidence of symptoms of dementia.|

Stage 2: | Very mild cognitive decline (may be normal age-related changes or earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease) The person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses — forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects. But no symptoms of dementia can be detected |

| Stage 3: Mild cognitive decline (early-stage Alzheimer's can be diagnosed in some, but not all, individuals with these symptoms) Friends, family or co-workers begin to notice difficulties. During a detailed medical interview, doctors may be able to detect problems in memory or concentration. Common stage 3...
tracking img