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6/23/2014

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http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp
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http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp
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http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159442.php


Alzheimers
1. Alzheimers vs. dementia:
Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia - general term for memory loss and
other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life as it accounts for
60-80% of dementia cases
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Dementia is not a specific disease its an overall term that describes a wide range of
symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to
reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities
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Other types of dementia include: vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB),
mixed dementia, Parkinsons disease, frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease, normal pressure hydrocephalus, Huntington's Disease, Wernicke-Korsakoff
Syndrome
2. Causes:
It is a neurodegenerative disease there a progressive brain cell death happening over a
course of time; total brain size shrinks, tissue has progressively fewer nerve cells and
connections
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Cannot be seen or tested in living
brain but postmortem/autopsy shows
tiny inclusions in nerve tissues
plaques (build-up of beta-amyloid
found between the dying cells) and
tangles (disintegration of tau found
within the brain neurons)
However, these abnormal protein
clumps/changes in brain nerves are
also [sometimes] witnessed in other
disorders so scientists are still trying
to figure out whether there is another
cause





3. Risk factors:
Unavoidable
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:
a. Age disorder is more likely in older people (greatest portion is present in
85+-year-olds); however, early-onset Alzheimers typically presents itself
between the ages of 30-60 but only accounts for less than 5% of all
Alzheimers cases
b. Family history of the disorder
c. Disorder is more common in females
d. Having a certain gene the apolipoprotein E or APOE gene puts a person at
3-8 times more risk than a person without this gene
Potentially avoidable/modifiable:
a. Factors that increase blood vessel risk diabetes, high cholesterol and high
blood pressure
Nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. In
Alzheimer's, there are microscopic 'plaques'
and 'tangles' between and within brain cells.
6/23/2014
1
http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp
2
http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp
3
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159442.php


b. Low educational and occupational attainment
c. Prior head injury
d. Sleep disorders
e. Estrogen hormone replace therapy
4. Signs and symptoms:
Most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned
information because Alzheimer's changes typically begin in the part of the brain that
affects learning
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As disorder advances through the brain it leads to:
a. Disorientation, mood and behavior changes ex. socially unacceptable
behavior, less interest, agitation, OCD
b. Deepening confusion about events, time and place ex. getting lost on a
familiar route, inability to plan complex/sequential activities
c. Unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers ex.
inability to recognize faces/remember names
d. More serious memory loss ex. misplacing belongings, repetitive
questions/conversations, forgetting appointments/events
e. Difficulty speaking, swallowing, reading, writing and walking ex. Difficulty
thinking of common words, hesitation