Why Is There No Cure for Alzheimer's Disease?

Topics: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Brain Pages: 22 (9748 words) Published: December 11, 2012
This project aims to find out why there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. I plan to investigate and analyse advantages and disadvantages of contributing factors to the disease and what could trigger the symptoms of the disease. Through these, I can decide whether there is a possible cure for the disease. I chose to complete a project about the disease because I find it to be an interesting topic, particularly as the disease has being deemed ‘irreversible’ and not seen as a normal part of the ageing process. I always thought that ‘forgetting’ was a normal part of ageing, meaning everyone will fall to this fate as they grow older. However, I did not know that forgetfulness can become a disease. On watching a popular medical show ‘Grey’s Anatomy’; Alzheimer’s disease came to my attention as being a personal struggle which has a devastating impact on family and friends therefore I chose to concentrate on reasons why there is no cure for the disease and possible ways to prevent acquiring the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is most commonly known as a neurodegenerative disease, which put simply is a death to the nerve cells in the brain; there is a progressive loss of structure and function of the neurons characterized by impairment of memory and thought but which eventually causes disturbances in reasoning, planning, language, and perception. Alzheimer’s is deemed an ‘irreversible disease’ but this does not mean it cannot be treated. While the disease can occur in younger people, even in their 30’s and 40’s, the risk is higher in those aged after 65. One in ten people aged over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease while 1 in five people aged over 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. The rate of occurrence of the disease increases exponentially with age, which means that it occurs very rarely among those 40-50 years old, increases between 60 and 65 years, and is very common over 80 years. It is estimated that there are currently about 18 million people worldwide with Alzheimer’s disease. This figure is projected to nearly double by 2025 to 34 million. Much of this increase will be in the developing countries, and will be due to the ageing population. Currently, more than 50% of people with Alzheimer’s disease live in developing countries and by 2025, this will be over 70%. Other risk factors besides age are: family history of Alzheimer's, stress, serious illness or injury, inadequate physical and social activity, poor diet, perhaps even race. Findings of a 1998 study of 1,000 people in New York, reported by the Alzheimer's Association, suggest that the risk of Alzheimer's is four times higher for African Americans, and twice as high for Hispanics as for white Euro-Americans.

A neuron is the building block of the nervous system; neurons transmit information from our environmetal stimuli throughout the body. In the brain, there are about “100 billion nerve cells” all connecting together to form communication networks; this enables our body to respond the way it does; according to what function each groups of nerve cells are involved in. These nerve cells communicate information to the brain in both chemical and electrical forms. The dendrites of the neuron receive information from the sensory receptors or other neurons which is passed down to the cell body of the neuron and then the axon. Once its arrived at the axon, it travels down the length of the axon in the form of an electrical signal known as an action potential ( this occurs when a neuron sends information down an axon, away from the cell body). Once the information has reached the end of the axon, it must be transmitted across the synaptic gap to the dendrites of the other neuron. In some cases, the electrical signal can almost instantly bridge the gap between the neurons and continue along the path. And, in other cases, neurotransmitters which are chemical messengers will be needed to send the information from one neuron to the next, this would be done by releasing...
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