Alzheimer’s Kills

The German doctor, Alois Alzheimer first discovered AD in 1906. He noticed changes in the brain of a female mental patient. While examinig the brain of the woman, Alzheimer noticed bundles of fibers and a plaque buildup. Today we have a name for these unusual conditions, amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary.

Amyloid plaque is similar to the plaque that clogs millions of arteries. In the middle of this plaques is a protein called beta amyloid. The beta amyloid is surrounded by fragments of deteriorated neurons.

Neurofibrillary is a tangled web of fibers in the brain. It is were the term “the tangled mind” comes from. It is not known if these conditions are the causes or symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. It makes peron forget how to take care of themselves. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s is repeatedly asking the same question, getting lost in familiar places and forgeting simply things like eating and bathing. Alzheimer’s affects the area of the brain that controls memory and thinking first. This causes drastic personality changes. A person with AD will have anxiety, suspiciosness, agitation, as well as delusions or even hallucinations. As the disease progresses, brain cells in other parts of the brain began to die. A person will start loosing motor skills. The may not be able to talk, feed him/herself or go to the restroom unassisted. A person with Alzheimer’s will need constant care and supervision. In most cases if the person does not have other serios problems, Alzheimer’s will kill them within eight years. There are no know cures, but there are treatments designed to slow it down. Donepezil, Rirastigmine, and Gelantamine are the most common. Side effects of these drugs include nausea, anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. Donepezil and Tacrine are cholinesterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase is the enzyme that block neurotransmitters. Scientist believe that stem cell research may offer other treatments, but this has yet to be confrimed. In short, the best a person with AD has to hope for is prolonging the move into a nursing home.

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