The 6th Leading Cause of Death in the United States: Alzheimer's


Alzheimer's disease is a disease that attacks the brain. Autopsy studies have shown Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a build-up of proteins in the brain. The build-up manifests in Plaques: deposits of the protein that accumulate in the spaces between nerve cells and tangles: deposits of the protein that accumulate inside the nerve cells. They are said to block the nerve cells ability to communicate with each other making it difficult for the cells to survive.
Many people find the changes in behavior caused by Alzheimer's to be the most challenging and distressing effect of the disease. In early stages, people may experience behavior and personality changes such as: irritability, anxiety, and depression. In later stages: anger, agitation, aggression, physical and verbal outbursts, restlessness, hallucinations, delusions, and sleep disturbances.
Currently there is no cure and little prevention. Drug and non drug treatments may help with both cognitive and behavioral symptoms. FDA approved medications are cholinestrerase inhibitors and memantine. They cannot stop the damage of Alzheimer's but they may lessen or stabilize symptoms for a limited time by affecting certain chemicals involved in carrying messages among the brains nerve cells. Exercise, good nutrition, activities, and social interaction are important. A calm, structured environment also may help the person with Alzheimer's disease to continue functioning as independently as possible.
Below is a video on the current facts and stats of Alzheimer's disease:


What's interesting is that Alzheimer's may be linked to genetics and mutations on a few pairs of chromosomes. Maybe future studies of transposable elements can help us to understand and combat Alzheimer's and drop it off the chart of deadly diseases. The dementia caused by the disease is very traumatic to both the victim and the victim's family.

I had no idea Alzheimer's could cause death! I thought the primary problem was forgetfulness, and also had no idea that evidence of the disease taking hold was visibly seen in the brain. Maybe one day they will be able to remove the plaque without causing serious harm to the brain?

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This page contains a single entry by nulty002 published on March 4, 2012 10:52 PM.

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