The Forgetfulness Disease

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Alzheimer's is a form of dementia (certain diseases that cause a loss of brain function) that affects thinking, memory, and behavior. Based on autopsies of the brains of those affected by Alzheimer's, the diseases may be caused by plaques- deposits of the protein beta-amyloid that accumulate in the spaces between nerve cells and tangles- deposits of the protein tau that accumulate inside of nerve cells. Scientists are still unsure of how tangles and plaques are related to Alzheimer's, but one idea is that they kill nerve cells by blocking them from communicating with each other. Typically elderly people develop Alzheimer's disease. Nearly one of out every two people over the age of 85 has the disease. One's chances of developing the disease are increased if a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, has the disease. Two kinds of genes are linked to this: ApoE 4 and a deterministic gene that is extremely rare and only found in a few hundred extended families in this world. You can help reduce your risk of developing this disease by avoiding serious head injuries, not using tobacco, limiting your consumption of alcohol, and staying socially, physically, and intellectually active. Symptoms of those who develop the disease get progressively worse: loss of cognitive skills, perception problems, confusion, aggression/irritability, moody behavior, problems with language production, and short and long-term memory loss. (Remember how Allie completely forgot about her husband, Noah, and their children in The Notebook?) Eventually, bodily functions are lost, which results in death. There are no treatments that stop or prevent Alzheimer's, only treatments that help with the symptoms of this disease, which include medications.Tacrine, Rivastigmine, Galantime, Donepezil are acetylocholinesterase inhibitors, which reduces the rate at which acetylcholine (ACh) is broken down and results in an increase of the concentration of ACh in the brain. Memantine is a NMDA receptor antagonist, meaning it inhibits the receptors' overstimulation of the neurotransmitter glutamate. Those who suffer from Alzheimer's basically lose themselves as the disease progresses, forgetting their entire lives.The image below shows the lack of brain activity in someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease. alzheimer's.png

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This page contains a single entry by critc021 published on March 5, 2012 4:33 PM.

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How Could You be so Heartless? is the next entry in this blog.

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