Alzheimers Disease


Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressive, degenerative disorder of the brain that eventually results in abnormal brain function and death. The disease was first described in 1907 by a German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer(1864-1915). In the neurological autopsy on the brain of a 56-year-old woman Auguste D., of Frankfurt, who died after several years of progressive mental deterioration marked by increasing confusion and memory loss. Taking advantage of a then-new staining technique, he noticed an odd disorganization of the nerve cells in her cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for reasoning and memory. The cells were bunched up like a rope tied in knots. He termed the ...

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called senility. Some people develop this condition when they are as young as 40 years of age. However, the disease is most common in persons over the age of 65. It is estimated that approximately 10 percent of persons over 65 years of age may have Alzheimer’s disease and that in persons over the age of 85, up to 50 percent may be affected. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. It is not contagious, and it is not known how it can be prevented. While the physical changes in the brain are very similar among different people the behavioral and psychological symptoms that result are complex and may differ from person to person(Kawas, 80). These symptoms lead to a form of dementia which is the loss of mental skills and abilities, including self-care capabilities. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, these losses will result in total dependency for even the simplest activities(Erickson, 149).
Alzheimer’s disease usually comprises of three stages. The first ...

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and delusions. These changes may last for up to about twelve years(Campbell).
In the third stage, the terminal stage persons affected now experience substantial dysfunction. Basic skills such as eating or drinking are forgotten. Because of eating problems, many persons may experience a substantial loss of body weight, up to 20-30 percent(Lewis, 49). They may eventually lose their ability to maintain balance and walk. Their ability to recognize other persons and their environment is gone. Both long- and short-term memories are lost. At this stage, persons affected require complete 24-hour care and often become bedridden and inactive(Lewis, 49). Because of this, they are at ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 12/26/2003 11:22:54 PM
Category: Science & Nature
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1507
Pages: 6

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