What Are Neurodegenerative
Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure or function of
neurons primarily in the brain.
Neurons are the building blocks of the nervous system which
includes the brain and spinal cord. Neurons normally don’t
reproduce or replace themselves, so when they become
damaged or die they cannot be replaced by the body.
The most common neurodegenerative diseases are:
Famous People With Neurodegenerative diseases
Michael J Fox
Sugar Ray Robinson
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the
brain's nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and
language skills, and behavioral changes.
1906- One of Dr. Alois Alzheimer’s patients dies after having many memory
loss problems and inabilities to understand simple questions.
Upon autopsy he discovered dense deposits surrounding the nerve cells
Inside the nerve cells he observed twisted bands of fibers.
Memory loss, especially of recent events, names, placement of
objects, and other new information
Struggling to complete familiar actions, such as brushing teeth
or getting dressed
• Huntington's disease is an inherited disease that causes the
progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain.
Huntington's disease has a broad impact on a person's functional
abilities and usually results in movement, thinking (cogni
• tive) and psychiatric disorders.
• The genetic basis of Huntington's disease was discovered in 1993 by
the collaborative effort of the Hereditary Disease Foundation.
• Chorea- slowed saccadic eye movements and general restlessness.
• Abnormal posturing, sleep disturbances, and difficulties chewing.
• Writhing motions
• Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system
that affects your movement. It develops gradually, sometimes
starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. The
disease is named after the English doctor James Parkinson, who
published the first detailed description in An Essay on the Shaking
Palsy in 1817.
– Tremors- usually in the hand or fingers.
– Slowed Movement (bradykinesia)- through time Parkinson’s will effect your
ability to move and ability to complete normal tasks in the same ammount of
– Speech Changes- constant hesitating or slurring of the words.
Treatment For Alzheimer's
• There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s
• Researchers are continually testing the effectiveness of drug
therapies to slow down symptoms.
• The FDA has several medications for treatment of Alzheimer’s
– Donepezil Hydrochloride (Aricept)
– Rivastigmine (Exelon)
– Galatamine Hydrobromide (Razadyne)
It is estimated that 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease.
By 2050 the number of people with Alzheimer's disease could triple.
In 2013, Alzheimer’s disease will cost th nation 203 billion dollars.
Treatment For Huntington’s
• No treatment can alter the course of Huntington’s disease.
• Some medications can help with the movement disorders.
Tetrabenazine (Xenazine)- works to suppress involuntary jerking and
Diazepam (Valium)- helps suppress movements but very addictive.
• In the United States, 30,000 people have Huntington’s disease.
• Huntington's disease affects an estimated 3 to 7 per 100,000 people of
Treatment For Parkinson’s
• Parkinson’s cannot be cured but medication can help control the
Carbidopa-levidopa (Parcopa)- the most common medication taken
for Parkinson’s disease. Through time the medicine can help with
movement problems cause by the disease.
Amantanide- provides short term relief of mild to severe cases of
Anticholinergics- Helps control tremors in the hands or other limbs
An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with
Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated four
percent of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50
How To Care For
• There are three stages of caregiving for most patients:
• In the early stages, you may act more like a care partner, than a
caregiver. Your role is one of support, love and companionship. You
are there to help with daily life, as needed, and to help the person
affected plan for the future
• Being a caregiver for someone in the middle stages of Alzheimer's
requires flexibility and patience. As the abilities of the person with
Alzheimer's change and functioning independently becomes more
difficult, you will have to take on greater responsibility. Daily
routines will need to be adapted, and structure will become more
• During the late stages, your role as a caregiver focuses on
preserving quality of life and dignity.