Alzheimer’s disease is a disease with no cure that is diagnosed to people over 65 years old. It was first prescribed by a man named Alois Alzheimer in 1906. The course of this disease is different for every individual, but there are many common symptoms. The disease can last from two to twenty years. In early stages the most common is the incapability to obtain to new memories (as in difficulty in remembering recent facts.) As the disease advances more symptoms will show up such as confusion, irritability, and language break-down. Eventually bodily functions go which leads to death. The causes of this disease aren’t well understood. Research says that the disease is associated with plaque and tangles in the brain. Since the disease is not curable, care-giving is essential and is usually done by a close relative.
II. The areas affected by this disease-
Alzheimer’s affects all parts of the brain; however different people may be affected differently. Each part of the brain is known as a lobe. In Figure 2 you are able to see the different lobes of the brain. The temporal lobes are needed for memory, our memory is known as episodic memory. This memory helps us remember simple things like forgetting where we put the keys. Damage to this lobe (and the frontal lobe) means there is no ability to obtain new information and remember it later. Our semantic memory is the part of our brain where we construct sentences, Alzheimer’s patients are not affected by that part therefore they are able to speak and make sentences.
III. Molecular Imaging-
Molecular imaging is imaging that provides pictures of what is happening inside our body at molecular and cellular level. This imaging allows physicians to see how the body is functioning. When diseases come into the body the biochemical activity is changed. Molecular imaging can detect the cellular changes that happen earlier in the disease. It is used for Alzheimer’s to help diagnose the disease earlier and more effectively to manage the patients who have the disease. And finding the disease earlier is better so they can slow down the progression of it.
There is no “cure” for Alzheimer’s disease but there are treatments that can control the symptoms. And the treatments can also manage depression or agitation that the patients might have. People with this disease have low levels of acetylcholine- which is an important brain chemical involved in nerve cell communication. This helps slow the progression of cognitive impairment. Here is a list of four drugs that are used:
-Razadyne: This prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine and stimulates nicotinic receptors.
-Exelon: Prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine.
-Aricept: Prevents breakdown of acetylcholine.
-Cognex: Prevents breakdown of acetylcholine. This is effective in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s.
V. Journal Article-
Ganzer, C., & England, S. E. (1994). Alzheimer's Care and Service Utilization: Generating Practice Concepts from Empirical Findings and Narratives. Health and Social Work, 19(3), 174+. Retrieved December 11, 2010, from Questia database: http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001663394
This Journal Article explains a lot about the whole disease and what it affects. This article gives percentages on the population growth of the disease. It also explains how the disease has a huge impact on the families and care-givers around them.
1. "Alzheimers Disease." wikipedia.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2010.
5. Ganzer, C., & England, S. E. (1994). Alzheimer's Care and Service Utilization: Generating Practice Concepts from Empirical Findings and Narratives. Health and Social Work, 19(3), 174+. Retrieved December 11, 2010, from Questia database: http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001663394
Figure 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alzheimers
Figure 2: http://alzheimers.about.com/library/bltemporal.htm