By K. R. and T. M. ** In this project I also refer to Alzheimer’s as Dementia and AD**
Are you ready to be horrified? Are you prepared to see some gruesome pictures? Are you sure you are ready to be totally grossed out by my project!? Well hold you breath because I am now going to tell you the name of the most disgusting project ever. Are you ready? Ok. Hope you are ready now because my project is on………… ALZHEIMER’S! Scary isn’t it. If you don’t know what this disease is or does you have no need to worry because Alzheimer’s is not the tinniest bit gross. (Unfortunately) In this project I will be telling you about some of the symptoms, cause, treatment, and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. So, with out further a due get ready to do some heavy learning on Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is sometimes referred to as Dementia, but they are actually a little different. The main reason they are confused is because their symptoms are so similar and because Alzheimer’s can sometimes lead to Dementia. This disease is mainly a deterioration of a section of the brain. One of the effects of this deterioration is memory loss. Alzheimer’s was first discovered / described in 1906 by a German neurologist by the name of Alois Alzheimer. Alzheimer’s usually only affects people from the age of 60 and higher.
At this time doctors/ researchers/ scientists do not know what really happens inside the brain to people that have Alzheimer’s. One thing that they are pretty sure of is that in AD patients there is a deficiency of neurons. They have noticed these following things in patients who they know who have Dementia: ¤Ventricular growth is abnormally fast The picture above shows the way the ventricular, (black area in the middle), is growing faster than it should be.
What causes Alzheimer’s is still unknown at this present time, but there are many theories. These include: ¤Family Genes (see pg.9 for details) ¤Genetic mutation (see pg.10 for details)
Family Genetics It has been shown that many people who have Alzheimer’s have family member (s) that have a certain E gene. This gene is called Apolipoprotein or APO E. The E gene that is most commonly found in these family members is called APO E3. There is no hard proof that shows a definite link to Alzheimer’s and this E gene, but it may be a very important observation.
Genetic Mutation Genetic mutation is thought to be linked to the making of amyloid. Amyloid is a protein in plaques which can lead to the destruction of neurons. They find this very interesting because this is what happens to Down Syndrome patients.
Severe Confusion Memory Loss Forgetfulness Wanders Around A Lot Unable To Care For Themselves Uncoordinated No Longer Cares About Things They May Have Loved Before Some of the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include: Aggression Depression Not Sleeping Properly Hallucinations Appetite Decreasing
Most of the time the process of elimination is used to see if someone has Alzheimer’s. If the patient has any of the symptoms of this disease and has no condition such as: high blood pressure, alcoholism, or diabetes then there is a much higher possibility of them having the Alzheimer’s. Even still it is difficult to actually give a clear diagnosis of this disease. I believe that most people do not know that they have Dementia until the later stages is because the symptoms of this disease do not stand out like some other diseases. For example memory loss could happen to anyone who is 60+ which is also the more likely age of people developing this disease.
Right now you are probably thinking that there is no way to diagnose someone of Alzheimer’s right? Well, you are not completely right because there is in fact one way to find out. That one way is to do an autopsy, but to do an autopsy the person would have to be dead. So, there is pretty much no real way to diagnose someone of Alzheimer’s.
Tacrine (Cognex®) – was approved in1993
Donepezil (Aricept®) – was approved in 1996
ENA-713 (Exelon®) – was approved in 2000
Galantamine (Reminyl®) – was approved in 2001
Just like any other drug or medication all of the ones I mentioned above have side effects. Some of the most common side effects which happen when a patient is taking medication include: sedation, falls, and sometimes even quicker mental decline! Unfortunately, there is still no real cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are some drugs which help patients suffering from this disease. Some of these drugs are:
Music Therapy Photo Therapy
Aroma Therapy Electroconvulsive Therapy
At the moment some research is being done in Britain on certain therapies and how they could possibly help patients dealing with Dementia. A very good thing about therapies are that there are very few side effects and it is also fairly natural so there will not be many chemicals. The research being done at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom says that aromatherapy and bright light treatment will be a very helpful treatment to help ease the most severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Other helpful therapies include:
In aroma therapy they use special candles to help you feel a certain way. An example would be for you to become calm or happy. The smells of the candles send messages to your brain and that is how they relax you. Music therapy is similar to aroma therapy. In this particular therapy they use different music’s to make you feel a certain way. It is almost like elevator music. The reason there is music in elevators is to help some people become distracted from maybe their fear of heights. Different music’s also send messages to your brain and make you feel a certain way.
Dementia was only first described 96 years ago! In some cases the patient may clearly be able to remember their childhood or early the early years of their adult life, but when asked to recall what they had for lunch or just something more recent they are unable to do so. Half of almost every nursing home in the United States has Dementia patients. It usually takes from 2-8 years until the final stage of Alzheimer’s is reached. At this point just about all of their memory is gone. This disease is virtually unknown in people 45 and younger.