Dr. Alois Alzheimer was working with a female patient, 51 years of age, with Alzheimer’s disease. After she passed, an autopsy of her brain concluded that the cerebral cortex was much thinner than usual. There were also senile plaques and nerve tangling involved. The number of cases diagnosed is estimated to triple by the year 2050 (Czekanski, 2007).
Often times, Alzheimer’s is confused with elderly people aging naturally. It is common for elderly to lose a little memory and common day functionality. However, when the person’s whole demeanor and personality changes, then it is time to look a step deeper. Symptoms may vary from case to case, but general disorientation, dementia, differences in social behavior are most prevalent and obvious.
AB plaques may be the one thing that differs Alzheimer’s disease from other dementia. However, there are many different plaques found in the brain which makes it hard to distinguish. Some plaques found in elderly brains are healthy while others worsen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. These arguments are made by many researchers (Whalley, Dick, & McNeill, 2006). I believe chemicals and pathogens can definitely induce the start of Alzheimer’s disease, if anything.
Organic Dementia showed that there are no significant relations from first degree relatives to another. The subjects were screened for any organic dementia, following the DSM criteria, and saw that there was not enough significance of a difference to indicate organic dementia in relative of FTD patients. It has to be taken into consideration that perhaps there has been more research done with African Americans regarding AD than with Native Americans.
Alzheimer’s disease is mainly related with aging, but it can also be triggered and developed from head traumas and other injury and also different diseases that have sustained the body from a young age. There can be two groups of people with the same ethnicity, but one group has a higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease than the other. The environmental influences will have to be observed in cases like this.
Most cultures rely on family caretaking if there is someone in the family that inherited dementia or AD. Whether it is African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or Native Americans, each culture has their own definition of family and has their traditional way of running things. Some keep each other very close by and some take turns of being responsible for the care giving of a family member. The caretakers’ responsibility will only increase over time. In the beginning it may just be taking care of their finances, but at the end, it will be a full time night and day job. Therefore, they will have to quit their jobs and be a full time caregiver. Counseling will help caregivers with stress of their loved one, guilt for wanting to opt out of the situation, and give encouragement for their future.
ALZHEIMER’S DISEASEBy: Wendy Perng
Abstract Alzheimer’s disease has been researched for years and still it has no cure. AD involves shrinkage of the brain tissue, neurofibrillary nerve tangles, and deposits of tau proteins in the brain. Symptoms include change in behavior, impulsivity, social adequate and family recognition. Alzheimer’s disease is often related with aging, but there are studies of other factors as well. It is affected all over the world in all different cultures and ethnicities. Family caretakers hold an extreme responsibility with their loved ones. It is more than a full time job. It is a change of lifestyle and often giving up a lot of time and jobs.
Introduction First case of Alzheimer’s disease was in 1906 Dr. Alois Alzheimer diagnosed his patient with the disease. Currently affects 5.1 million people in the world (Alzheimer’s Association, 2007)
Biological Components No set diagnosis and no set symptoms Some cases are diagnosed very slowly Often times, it is a prefrontal dominance disease (Delacourte, 1999) Symptoms include disorientation, dementia, and differences in social behavior
Biological Components (cont…) Many AB plaques were discovered (Drzezga, 2008) Arguments about the relevance of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease a. Alzheimer’s Disease forms alongside aging naturally from a younger age and only affects the person when they are older b. Alzheimer’s is completely dependent on age, therefore only starts developing when the person gets too old c. Chemicals and Pathogens in the environment are a main reason that Alzheimer’s Disease develops
Hereditary and Culture Gräsbeck, Horstmann, Nilsson, Sjöbeck, Sjöström, & Gustafson, L. (2005) studied frontotemporal dementia and organic dementia. Limited research on other cultures and ethnicities that have Alzheimer’s disease African Americans may have a higher risk of developing AD (Dilworth-Anderson & Gibson, 1999) while Native Americans may be in the lowest category
Hereditary and Culture (cont…) Head Traumas and other injury Different environments can have different outcomes of Alzheimer’s disease Anderson and Gibson’s study in 1999, Dilworth- Japanese Americans in King Country, Washington has a lower percentage of AD than Japanese Americans living in Hawaii.
Family and Caretakers Main caregivers are family Responsibility increases over time Often times, family members must sacrifice their jobs and time to take care of their loved one. Counseling for those who are caretakers is strongly recommended.
Conclusion Alzheimer’s disease has proven to be a very complicated and stressful disease. There is no cure and it is often difficult to diagnose. AD is related to aging, environmental and lifestyle issues. In some cases, there are genetic risks and factors. Families that have loved ones with AD need a lot of patience and knowledge about the disease. Through support of family members and friends and counseling, they can provide the care and lifestyle that their loved one needs. Alzheimer’s may be a very difficult disease to be a part of, but it is not impossible. Millions of families throughout the years, in every different ethnicity and culture, have shown their persistence in fighting this disease and keeping their family member close.
ReferencesCzekanski, K. E. (2007). The experience of transitioning to the caregiving role for a family member with alzheimers disease or a related dementia. Duquesne University).ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304864566?accountid=34899Delacourte, A. (1999). Biochemical and molecular characterization of neurofibrillary degeneration in frontotemporal dementias.Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 10(14208008), 75-75-9. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/232505183?accountid=34899Dilworth-Anderson, P., & Gibson, B. E. (1999).Ethnic minority perspectives on dementia, family caregiving, and interventions.Generations, 23(3), 40-40-45. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/212198565?accountid=34899
References (cont…)Drzezga, A. (2008). Basic pathologies of neurodegenerative dementias and their relevance for state-of-the-art molecular imaging studies.European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, 35(16197070), 4-S4-11.doi:10.1007/s00259-007-0697-6Gräsbeck, A., Horstmann, V., Nilsson, K., Sjöbeck, M., Sjöström, H., & Gustafson, L. (2005).Dementia in first-degree relatives of patients with frontotemporal dementia.Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 19(2-3), 145-145-53. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/232495807?accountid=34899Mitrani, V. B., Lewis, J. E., Feaster, D. J., &Czaja, S. J. (2006). The role of family functioning in the stress process of dementia caregivers: A structural family framework.The Gerontologist, 46(1), 97-97-105. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/211038581?accountid=34899
References (cont…)Patterson, C., Feightner, John W,M.D., M.Sc, Garcia, A., Hsiung, G. R., MacKnight, C., &Sadovnick, A. D. (2008). Diagnosis and treatment of dementia: 1. risk assessment and primary prevention of alzheimer disease.Canadian Medical Association.Journal, 178(5), 548-548-56. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204889254?accountid=34899Vernooij-Dassen, M., Joling, K., van Hout, H., &Mittelman, M. S. (2010). The process of family-centered counseling for caregivers of persons with dementia: Barriers, facilitators and benefits.International Psychogeriatrics, 22(5), 769-769- 77.doi:10.1017/S1041610210000050Whalley, L. J., Dick, F. D., & McNeill, G. (2006).A life-course approach to the aetiology of late-onset dementias.The Lancet Neurology, 5(1), 87-87-96. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/201446532?accountid=34899