Alzheimer's Disease Research Paper

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Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. Dr. Alzheimer was the first person to identify and describe this disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that gradually degrades the way the brain functions. Due to its progressive nature, as time passes more symptoms appear and the symptoms increasingly get more severe. Alzheimer’s disease destroys the individual’s memory and ability to think/process information. Slowly the degradation leads to the inability to accomplish common tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common source of dementia. Dementia is the term for symptoms that consist of troubles with thinking, processing of information, and memory loss. The symptoms get progressively worse because the brain is slowly …show more content…

They believe that there are multiple causes for the disease instead of just one simple answer. People who develop early onset Alzheimer’s have been found to have a genetic mutation as the primary cause. Late onset Alzheimer’s disease stems from a sequence of brain changes that can occur over long periods of time. The cause of the brain changes can be a result of any combination of these: lifestyle, genetics, environment, genetics, and age. Studies have shown that “the greatest risk factor for the disease is increasing age. After age 65, the risk of Alzheimer 's doubles every five years. After age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent.” (About) Researchers have learned that changes in the brain that come with age may damage neurons and become a factor in Alzheimer’s disease setting in. The changes in the brain include shrinking of parts of the brain, mitochondria being produced that malfunction, and brain swelling. The most common form of the disease is late-onset Alzheimer’s. This occurs in individuals who are in their mid-60s or later. It is around this time that people who carry the gene Apolipoprotein E (APOE) may start to show symptoms. Research shows that persons who have close family members with the disease that they are more likely to develop it. Not all carriers of this gene show symptoms and not all people who lack …show more content…

There isn’t a catchall test that doctors can run to determine if a person has the disease. Doctors can usually determine if a person has dementia but cannot determine if the cause is Alzheimer’s related or not. In order to determine is its Alzheimer’s or not evaluations of medical history are done. Further tests include blood tests, brain imaging tests (CT scans or MRI), mental faculty testing, and a neurological exam. The results of the imaging scans aren’t definitive but they do help paint a picture of what is going on in the brain. One of the initial tests that may be performed on a patient is a mini-mental state exam (MMSE). This test asks simple questions that should be easily recalled and answered. Date, location of the doctor’s office, identifying items around the patient, and recalling of basic words that were used earlier in the examination are some examples. Upon completion of the test the patient is given a score of one to thirty. Thirty is the top score and anything under twelve suggests that severe dementia and most likely Alzheimer’s have set in. To evaluate a patients medical history blood pressure is checked and information about your health, drinking habits, diet and exercise routine are asked. Molecular imaging is a more recently developed test. These scans look for specific molecules in the brain by injecting a special compound that travels to the brain and reveals what molecules are there.

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