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Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder

Alzheimer=s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder which causes the destruction of certain brain cells resulting in a decline in mental functions. The damage occurs in the association area of the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus and the middle and temporal lobes, and result in a decreased concentration of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (Sadovsky, 2000, p. 877). Alzheimer=s disease affects the memory, thinking, language, and behavior. It usually occurs in people over the age of 65, but can occur in those as young as 40 years of age. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and when dementia occurs, patients are often placed in full-time residential care. It is estimated that about 10 percent of the population over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer=s disease (Alzheimer=s, 1999). Of these, between five percent and 10 percent have the familial form of the disease. That is, they have a family history of Alzheimer=s and show signs of the disease before age 65.

Chemical and structural changes in patients with Alzheimer=s interfere with a person=s ability to process, store and retrieve information. Symptoms of Alzheimer=s vary, and change with progression of the disease. The first symptoms are usually forgetfulness, memory loss and difficulty understanding written material (Alzheimer=s, 1999). Recent memory is affected more severely than longterm memory. As Alzheimer=s progresses, the person becomes disoriented and confused and can no longer remember major facts about him/herself and others. Personality and emotions change, and the patient may suffer from delusions, hallucinations, anxiety, and loss of motivation. As brain function diminishes, the ability to talk, move or care for themselves is lost.

An actual diagnosis of Alzheimer=s can only be made after death, since it entails dissection of the brain. A diagnosis of probable Alzheimer=s can be made after a medical history, physical exam and memory testing are ca...

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Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:15, April 21, 2019, from