olso6175: October 2011 Archives

Memory and Alzheimer's

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Memory is crucial to our lives because it allows us to apply our past experiences to our present lives. Memory allows us to function normally. Without memory we wouldn't know what to do when we got up in the morning or recognize the faces of those we love. It is normal not to remember every detail of our lives, but sometimes people begin forgetting too much. This is a disease and it is called Alzheimer's.

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Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia that gets worse over time and affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Alzheimer's accounts for 50 to 60 percent of the cases of dementia, and it occurs at alarming rates as people age. For those people aged 65 and older the risk for the disease is 13 percent, but once you hit age 85 and older the percent jumps up to 42 percent. Alzheimer's begins with the forgetting of newer memories, and ends with older memories being the last to go.

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When you have Alzheimer's the brain contains many senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that contribute to the loss of synapses, and death of cells in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. It is not known what exactly causes Alzheimer's but it is thought to be partially genetic and partially environment and lifestyle based. For example, it has been shown that being physically active reduces your risk for Alzheimer's.

The disease of Alzheimer's is close to my heart because my grandfather had it. I personally experienced his decline and memory. He had to be moved from his house and to a nursing home because he could no longer take care of himself. I wonder if scientists will ever discover the exact cause of Alzheimer's and if there will be a treatment that works. What would our world be like if people no longer had memory loss? Would it increase life span? Would it be a good thing or a bad thing? I guess we will just have to give Alzheimer's research time and wait to see the outcome.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001767/
Psychology Textbook

REM Sleep

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1) Identify one important concept, research finding, theory or idea from Psy 1001 lectures or the Lilienfeld text from the past two weeks (Sensation & Perception and Consciousness.) Summarize the concept in your own words and explain why you believe this concept research finding, theory or idea is important. Apply this to some aspect of your life (real life example are an excellent way to learn. Photos, You-tube videos, etc. are encouraged.) As you reflect on this concept, research finding, theory or other idea, what other questions occur to you? What are you still wondering about?

REM sleep is the 5th stage in the sleep cycle and it is when the brain is most active and the most vivid dreaming occurs. Each night a person spends about an hour in REM sleep.

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I think REM sleep is important because our bodies physically need it. It is also interesting because it is such a strange thing. Why does REM sleep happen? Why do our brains get so excited and why are are dream more vivid? What is the point of REM sleep? I can apply the finding of REM sleep to my life by making sure I get it every night. It is important to be well rested to live healthfully. REM sleep is considered to be biologically important, and most likely essential. When people don't get enough REM sleep their bodies rebound, and the amount and intensity of REM sleep increases. I know when I don't get enough sleep I feel terrible the next day and cannot concentrate on anything. I think it's important for me and others my age to go through the entire sleep cycle which allows good REM sleep to happen.

I wonder why REM sleep happens? What is the reason our bodies do it? Why do we dream more vividly in REM sleep? Why do some people get more REM sleep than others?

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by olso6175 in October 2011.

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