Facts About Alzheimer's Disease

It is tough to live a life with alzheimer’s disease. Here I give you what happens through your body when alzheimer’s occurs.

Alzheimer’s disease is a well-known disease that is known to make one have a loss of memory. This disease is more common around elderly patients. Alzheimer’s disease is a disease where you brain will lose the ability of memory or the ability to remember what things you may have been doing. Memory loss is a common feature of the elderly because their brains lose the proper neurons to make it function. You can tell when someone might have Alzheimer’s is when they are forgetting the thing that they had just did, but they can remember what they wore on their first day of school when they were young. They show signs of okay long-term memory but terrible short-term memory.

There are two types of memories: long-term memory and short-term memory. The parts of the brain where long-term memory and short-term memory are stored are the occipital lobe, parietal lobe, and temporal lobe. The transfer from short-term memory to long-term memory uses the hippocampus and amygdale of the limbic system, the thalamus and hypothalamus of the diencephalon, ventral medial prefrontal cortex, and the basal forebrain. The lobes sense things and send them to the hippocampus and amygdale which connect to the basal forebrain, diencephalon, and prefrontal cortex. Now in the basal forebrain, an acetylcholine (ACh) releasing neuron sends impulses to the sensory cortical area making the views into memories. Alzheimer’s patients are found to have their hippocampus and cerebal cortex shrunken. This loss of the hippocampus affects the transfer of short-term memories to long-term memories. Alzheimer’s patients are also found with a decrease of ACh. ACh is a chemical that produces the memories and keeps them stored. With little ACh, there is less memories being stored and less room for the amount of memories that can be stored. Homeostasis is also disrupted among patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The homeostasis contains cellular Ca++ or calcium which causes the cells to die since the body has decrease in calcium. Acrolein is known to be found in a brain of an Alzheimer’s disease patient. This free radical is toxic to the hippocampus neurons and slows down the process of memory. Amyloid precursor proteins are harmless and common, but when increased the proteins become deposited around neurons and form plaques. These plaques stop the neurons from signaling a message to the brain or they will slow it down making it harder to remember. Calcium is then affected by these plaques which then produce tau proteins. Tau proteins cause the breakdown of microtubules and form tangles throughout the cells. This may lead to the death of a cell.

Alzheimer’s disease has no real cure. It has many treatments that can help the decrease of free-radicals that break down other chemicals, which is a good thing. Some types of medication also help to disentangle the formations of tangles and other problems in certain cells. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease and hopefully the cure is out there just waiting to be found.

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Ileen Zovluck
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Posted on Jul 3, 2010