November 4, 2012
Dr. Annie Powers
Alzheimer’s disease is almost as feared as cancer in America. This disease is so aggressive it steals the memory and the mind of individuals in a matter of months. People who have seen Alzheimer’s illness know it can take away what is important to people, their memories. People must have an understanding of the disease itself, what type of neurological damage it causes, the behavioral changes, what causes the illness, and what treatments are available. People must understand the role of genetics is this disease, how important prevention is, and different effects it has on each person with the illness. Iinclude a review of an Alzheimer’s Power Point Presentation.
Alzheimer’s disease discovered in Germany, in 1905 by a doctor named Alois Alzheimer. He had a patient in an asylum where he was working, whom he watched her condition deteriorate with memory loss, difficulty with speech, confusion, suspicion, agitation, wandering, and screaming. She also became unaware of her surroundings and became incontinent. When Dr. Alzheimer performed the autopsy, he discovered neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques which became a signature trait of Alzheimer’s disease. After the discovery in 1905, he took his finding to a group of psychiatrists in 1906 to get a public description of this new disease, named after him. This opened a door in the medical field to further neurological research on illness and treatment.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most advanced neurological disorders of the 21st century. The more research done on the illness, the more understanding there is about this disease. Alzheimer’s disease characterized by loss of neurons and synapses in the cerebral cortex and certain sub-cortical regions. Several factors can cause Alzheimer’s, one of the leading causes is known as cholinergic hypothesis, which theorizes that synthesis of neurotransmitter acetylcholine is deficient in the brain or has completely disappeared. The second theory of this disease it that a beta-amyloid protein deposits are visible in the brain linked to the same chromosome connected to the gene in Down’s syndrome. When the excess protein builds up it creates what is known as amyloid plaques in the neuropath ways of the brain creating a detoration of the neurons. Beta-amyloid protein also helps support the tau hypothesis stating that tau protein abnormalities initiate this disease. In a hyper tau begins to pair with other threads of tau, they form neurofibrillary tangles inside nerve cell bodies. The microtubules disintegrate collapsing the neuron’s transport system. The result from the collapse will create a malfunction in biochemical communication between the neurons and later the death of cells. Once this process has started the stages of Alzheimer’s it creates many behavioral changes and functions for patients.
The differences in behavior of Alzheimer’s patients are not always visible to the naked eye. As humans age the natural pace of the brain and body slow down, before expected. The progress of aging, especially in the mind is accelerated by Alzheimer’s, one of the early signs of this illness if forgetting recent events in one’s own life. People diagnosed with AD (Alzheimer’s disease) will suffer from symptoms such as confusion, irritability, and aggression. They may also display severe mood swings, trouble with language, and long-term memory loss. As this illness destroys more neurological pathways; most patients withdrawn from family, friends, and society. Part of the reason for this with drawl is embarrassment, non-recognition of people they should know and fear of people they do not recognize. The more memory destroyed in patients gradually loses the ability make their body function. They usually become incontinent and can not remember how to swallow. At late stages of AD patients die from the inability to transmit signals from the brain to the heart telling the heart to continue beating. Many patients become bedridden, unable to walk, or even do the simplest of movements.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, for AD patients this is a particularly true statement. At the present time there is neither a way to prevent or cure AD. Research being done on AD suggests that with a proper diet, plenty of exercise, stress reduction, medications, and brain stimulation help reduce the onset of AD. These are all prevention methods suggested to help slow down AD onset, as for the cures that are available there are not any at this time. However, there are three types of treatment available for an individual’s pharmaceutical, psychosocial, and care giving. The first treatment for this illness is medications. Primarily five types of medications are used to treat the cognitive manifestations. Acetyl cholinesterase inhibitors, have four different types (tacrine, rivastigmine, galantamine, and donepezil) and the other (menantime) is an NMDA receptor antagonist. All these medications primarily used to help keep the neurological transmitters and pathways communicating. Glutamate is a useful excitatory neurotransmitter of the nervous system, although excessive amounts in the brain can lead to cell death through a process called excitotoxicity that consists of the overstimulation of glutamate receptors (Francis, 1999). Antipsychotic drugs are modestly useful in reducing aggression and psychosis in AD with behavioral problems but are associated with serious adverse effects, such as cerebrovascular events, movement difficulties, and cognitive decline that do not permit their routine use. The second treatment of AD is psychosocial intervention with medications to help control emotional, cognition, and stimulation approaches. Behavioral problems are reduced by the reduction in stress, by handling stress emotional control also will occur. Emotional intervention techniques can help patients to learn to cope with their illness. Different types of therapy like validation, reminiscence, and supportive psychotherapy are all tools in treatment. These types of therapy help patients to remember the past and present. Also these types of therapy involve close family to help with voice recognition for later stages of AD. The theory here is stimulating the brain as much as possible, keep the patient from withdrawing, and slow down the advancement of this illness. Currently, these are the most readily available treatments for this illness.
As research continues around the world patients wait for a cure for this disease that destroys the tissues in the brain. Part of the battle to find a cure is the different effects this disease has on people, no two people are affected the same. There are only treatments available in the form of pharmaceutical, psychosocial, and care giving. The genetic link to AD are limited , research only suggests Down’s syndrome that are connected by an extra chromosome. Prevention is the weapon of choice at this time to help fight the onset of AD.
For the review of team A’s power point presentation I found the visual effects, clear, and concise. The introduction gave good direction for the order of the slides, which was easy to follow and order understand. The presentation was well assembled and very professional.
Alzheimers Drug Discovery Foundation (2010) The Discovery of Alzheimer’s Disease.
New York, New York
Francis, P.T, Palmer, A. M., Snape, M., Wilcock, G.K., (1999) The cholinergic hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease: a review of progress. J.Neurol.Neurosurgy. Psychiatry. Vol66 (2) 137-47 Retrieved from:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles
Roan, S. (2010) Tapping into accuratediagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/health/aging/lheb-alzheimers