Is Your Brain Shrinking?

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Each year Alzheimer's disease takes its toll on thousands of families. In Minnesota alone there are 94,000 people with Alzheimer's and an estimated 5.4 million people in the United States. With a growing number of people developing Alzheimer's it is pertinent to know what this disease is. According to Mayo Clinic
Alzheimer's is when brain cells degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function." As more and more brain cells die it contributes to significant brain shrinkage. Alzheimer's is caused from a combination of three things genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. There is not a cure for Alzheimer's disease, but there is a way to treat it and slow down the effects. The first one is Cholinesterase inhibitor which works by increasing levels of a cell to cell communication chemical depleted by Alzheimer's. The second drug used is Memantine, which works, in another brain cell communication network. As of right now thealzheimer_brain.jpgre are no proven ways to prevent Alzheimer's but physical, social and mental activity are very important and may help. There are three stages within this disease. The early or first stage is when the person may experience difficulties with handling money, eating habits and may also feel frustrated or angry because they cannot do everything they used to be able to do. The middle or second stage is when the person starts having trouble sleeping or experience behavioral changes. In the final stage the person's abilities decline and they may need to be put in a nursing home. The affects of Alzheimer's disease are devastating on families so take as many preventive measures as possible.


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This is a very interesting post. I especially found the image to be quite shocking. I did not know that the brain could disintegrate to such an extent.
In fact my friends grandma had Alzhimer's disease and I saw the impact that it has on families. My friends family used to be so independent but due to his grandma's illness, she brought the whole family together, but at the cost of her brain.
The next question I have is what steps can ordinary people take to prevent this disease given it's quite common?

This is an interesting topic-one which I very much enjoy because both of my grandfathers were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It is truly devastating because as they age they begin to forget even the most common tasks and eventually forget all of their loved ones. Your title is also interesting, I knew that there is a massive cell death for Alzheimer's patients, but not that this contributed to brain shrinkage. I am not so sure how much the brain shrinkage occurs with this disease vs. normal brain shrinkage. It is part of human development for the brain to shrink because as we age, we loose around 50% of our neurons and synapses. This may seem alarming, but it is actually beneficial for our brains to mature.

It is interesting that there are preventative measures for this disease. I suppose there are for any disease, but because it has to do with our brain is maybe why I didn't connect it. I knew the effects were genetic, but had no idea lifestyle and environment plays a role. It seems like such a horrible disease, in my opinion. To know understand what is happening around you...happy to learn that have found ways to slow the progression down. Interesting. Thanks for the info!

Yes. I think everybody is worried about getting Alzheimer's disease when getting old. You mentioned that there are a combination of three things genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. I'm very curious what kinds of lifestyle make us more susceptible to the disease and what environmental factors affect the degeneration of the nerve cells?

Be sure to tell us clearly what preventative measures can be taken. Why are the numbers of Alzheimer's Disease increasing? How do you think this connects to your life?

Your blog nicely walks through the stages of Alzheimer's disease, and really gives a basic description of what the disease does. I also agree there is still a serious need for more research on Alzheimer's and what factors lead to the disease. You addressed genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors, but what can be done to help prevent it.

This post was eye opening to me. I was unaware of how many people are affected by Alzheimer's disease. You gave a great, simple description of what the disease does and how it affects people. The picture you provided also showed a great representation of how the brain is affected. I hope I am lucky enough to never have to experience this disease in my life.

This is a great blog. It's interesting to get some information on something that has effected not only my life, but the lives of many others. Almost all of of know someone or know of someone who has dealt with this horrible disease. Hopefully, with more of this knowledge being exposed to the public that we will come closer to finding a cure for this terrible disease.

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This page contains a single entry by sorgx011 published on February 28, 2012 7:21 PM.

Diagnosing Rachel McAdams in "The Vow" was the previous entry in this blog.

Are you in charge of yourself? Not as much as you'd think. is the next entry in this blog.

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