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Alzheimer's Disease - Essay Example

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“Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder; its prevalence is increasing along with population longevity, and there is no cure for the disease so far” (Herrera-Rivero and Aranda-Abreu 1986-2010). Nevertheless, the research and…
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Alzheimers Disease
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Download file to see previous pages Alzheimer’s Disease is a growing social and medical concern that affects more than 4 million people in the US alone. It not only affects the person with the disease; it also impacts the caregiver or person watching the advancement in the person (Reger 2002). It is described as a degenerative disorder that “attacks the brain and leads to dementia” (Reger 2002). The cognitive centers of the brain are attacked which causes memory loss and no ability to comprehend normal situations, questions or statements. The disease progresses to the point of diminished social contact and inability to care for oneself. The disease can last as long as 20 years or more and symptoms usually show up between the ages of 65 and 85. Since there is no cure for AD, it progresses until death. The disease can afflict people as young as 45 and is called “early onset” when it occurs at an early age (Reger 2002). The following information will describe history of the disease, what happens in the brain, effects and treatment, and social and health implications.
Where did the disease get its name? Alzheimer’s was discovered by Alois Alzheimer in 1907. However, it did not become a major illness until the 1970s. Documentation of a case of a woman in her 50s who showed signs of cognitive disorders, memory loss, language confusion and social interaction loss was recorded. After she passed away, Alzheimer performed an autopsy of her brain. He used a silver staining technique and was able to view the existence of neurons. He was able to see abnormal formations; these are now called “senile plaques” and “neurofibrillary tangles” (Reger 2002). Alzheimer was able to make an assumption that these lesions, as he called them, may have been the cause of the patient’s death. The disease was later named after Alzheimer, as more people being diagnosed with symptoms of his findings proved his theory valid.
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