Alzheimers Disease Essay

Submitted By mgraviett
Words: 2678
Pages: 11

Alzheimer’s Imagine forgetting your thoughts every few minutes. Imagine not being able to remember that your wife is your wife or that you have children. Imagine constantly being confused. Now, imagine having to deal with these types of issues on a daily basis. People who have Alzheimer’s disease deal with all of these things every day. Dementia is defined as a brain disorder that affects a person’s thinking, memory, and reasoning skills. (medicalnews.net) Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia that happens to be the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. (medical news.net) Alzheimer’s is defined as, “an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks”. (nih.gov) Alzheimer’s disease is very prevalent and affects a good portion of people in the world. In fact, “It is estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer's disease”. (Alzheimer’s foundation of America) In this essay I will go into great detail about the devastating disease known as Alzheimer’s and share my personal experience with this disease. Most disorders/diseases are named after someone and Alzheimer’s disease is no exception. Alzheimer’s disease is named after a German doctor named Dr. Alois Alzheimer. (news medical net) In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer was investigating a woman who died of an unusual illness and noticed that there were changes in her brain tissue. He noticed that there were abnormal clumps

and tangles of fibers. (News medical net) Today, these clumps are known as amyloid plaques and the tangles are known as neurofibrillary fibers. These tangles and clumps are now a days a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown and there are many of brain changes that occur with Alzheimer’s. A brain change that occurs with this disease is a loss of pathways and nerve cells that are vital to the brain’s memory. (New-medical) Beta-amyloid plaques which are defined as clumps of protein fragments and cellular material that build up in the spaces between neurons; and neurofibrillary tangles are defined as insoluble fibers that are twisted and composed of the protein tau that build ups inside nerve cells Alzheimer’s is basically brain cells dying so Alzheimer’s causes the brain to shrink. (mayoclinic) The disorder actually attacks the nerve’s cells. One of the causes of Alzheimer’s is thought to be genetics. Research has concluded that there may be a link between Alzheimer’s and chromosomes 1, 14, 19, and 21. The APOE gene that is located on chromosome 19 is linked to late Alzheimer’s disease. (web md) Researchers have also linked chromosomes 1 and 14 with familial Alzheimer’s disease which is when Alzheimer’s strikes early and often in certain families. Chromosome 21 also makes researchers believe it plays a role in Alzheimer’s due to the role it plays in Down Syndrome. (Web md) There are also deterministic genes that cause Alzheimer’s disease. Deterministic genes are the genes that directly cause a disorder and anyone who inherits these genes will definitely have Alzheimer’s. These genes include three proteins which are the amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1 (PS-1) and presenilin-2 (PS-2). (alz.org) The amyloid precursor

protein (APP) is the first gene that was identified to have mutations that caused an inherited form of Alzheimer’s. The presenilin-1 protein (PS-1) was the second gene found that had mutations that caused Alzheimer’s and it has been concluded that variations in the (PS-1) gene are the most common cause of the early stage of Alzheimer’s. Lastly, the presenilin-2 (PS-2) protein is the third gene with mutations that are thought to cause the early stage of Alzheimer’s. (alz.org) Another cause of Alzheimer’s is thought to be Aluminum. Aluminum is a controversial cause because, “Aluminum does turn up in higher amounts than normal in some autopsy studies of…