Alzheimer’s• The deterioration of intellectual capabilities, memory, judgment, and personality to the extent that daily functioning and quality of life are seriously impaired.• Generally occurs in the elderly impairing brain function, which can lead to dementia.• Named for German neurologist Alois Alzheimer in 1907.
Statistics• 4 million or more cases in U.S.• 100,000 die each year.• 4th major leading cause of death in U.S.• 65 or older when symptoms can begin
Clinical Features• Loss of short-term memory and ability to create memories• Concentration on past• Loss of time• Communication diminishes• Personality changes• Delusions• Become immobilized and uncomprehending• Death due to respiratory failure• 65 and up disease lasts 8-20 years• 65 and down disease lasts 5-10 years disease more rapid
Histological Analysis 3 distinctive neuropathological features1. Devastating losses of synapses and neurons within hippocampus and entorhinal cortex.2. Dense spherical structures, called senile plaques (SP), prevalent outside the neurons of the hippocampus and other regions of the brain.3. Aggregations of fibrils (Neurofibrillary tangles, NFT) accumulate within cell bodies and dendritic processes of the neurons of the hippocampus, neurocortex, entorhinal cortex, and other brain parts.
Diagnosis• Only definitive way is to use brain scans (CT) to see plaques or tangles in brain tissue.• Tests used to exclude other diseases.
Treatments• No treatment can prevent Alzheimer’s• Drugs for early stages – Cognax, Aricept, Exelon, or Razadyne• Severe stages – Memantine (Namenda)• Medicines used to control symptoms, allow caregivers to provide easier care.
Research• Neuroimaging – Finding damaged parts of the brain• Alzheimer’s Genetics• Anti-oxidants• Ginkgo biloba – Using to stimulate memory• Estrogen – Tested for levels found in AD patients, which are women