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Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia - Essay Example

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Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease of the brain that mainly affects the older generations. Alzheimer’s disease was first diagnosed in Germany in 1906 by a psychiatrist and neuropathologist named Alois Alzheimer, (Klafki et al 2856, 2006). …
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Alzheimers Disease and Dementia
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Download file to see previous pages The disease is also referred to as Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease affects important components of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by symptoms such as loss of memory, confusion, loss of intellectual abilities, perception and even language. Age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (Schroeter et al. 1206, 2009). Other factors that have been found to increase the risk of getting the disease include genetics and a history of Alzheimer’s in the family (Hall et al 227, 2006). The chances of getting Alzheimer disease increases with advancement in age. Apart from the physical symptoms that are exhibited by patients suffering from Alzheimer, there are physiological symptoms as well. These occur in the brain. The main physiological symptoms include loss of neurons in the cerebral cortex of the brain and other subcortical regions of the brain as well. Loss of synapses in these areas is also an occurrence in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Another physiological change that has been identified on Alzheimer’s disease patients is the presence of an increased number of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Although these are usually associated with the normal ageing process, in Alzheimer patients, there is a significantly large number of these present in the brain (Cummings et al 2525, 2002). Alzheimer’s disease is also characterized by the abnormal accumulation of unusually folded types of proteins in the brain There is no known cure for the Alzheimer’s disease, and as the disease progresses through its stages, moving from bad to worse, patients eventually die. Furthermore, no research has managed to come up with a drug that can reverse the progression of the disease (Jones 152, 2008). However, a drug has been discovered that can at least help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s, this is Donepezil. Donepezil is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor that is used in the treatment of people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil has been proven to improve cognition, behavioural and functional ability among patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (Howard et al, 2007). The effects are more pronounced in moderate Alzheimer patients than in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. The impact made by the drug is minimal and more effective drugs need to be found if they are to reduce disability caused by Alzheimer’s disease, reduce cases in which patients have to be institutionalized and most of all, reduce the costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Like most drugs, Donepezil has its own side effects. These include gastrointestinal disturbances, making it risky for patients with gastrointestinal problems, nausea, anorexia and diarrhea. However, Donepezil has proven effective in treating some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (Malouf & Birks 36-70, 2004). Celia Drummond’s medication with Donepezil should stop because her Alzheimer’s has progressed beyond the moderate stage where Donepezil is most effective. References Cummings, J.L. et al. (2002) Guidelines for managing Alzheimer's disease: Part II. Treatment. American Family Physician. 65 (12), 2525–2534 Hall, K. et al. (2006) Cholesterol, APOE genotype, and Alzheimer disease: An epidemiologic study of Nigerian Yoruba. Neurology 66 (2), 223–227. Howard, J. H. et al. (2007) Donepezil for the Treatment of Agitation in Alzheimer's Disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 357, 1382-1392 Jones, R.W. (2008) The Atorvastatin/Donepezil in Alzheimer's Disease Study (LEADe): design and baseline characteristics.US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. 4(2), 145-53. Malouf, R. and Birks, J. (2004) Donepezil for vascular cognitive impairment. Cochrane Database ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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