Biology Paper

Submitted By BBosques
Words: 1238
Pages: 5

Some researchers at Lancaster University have conducted experiments involving a light eye exam. The results show that people with early and advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, as well as Parkinson's, do worse on an eye exam than healthy young and healthy old people. The test involves having patients follow the movements of light on a computer monitor. The test subjects were twenty-five patients with Parkinson's disease, eight patients with Alzheimer's disease, seventeen young people and eighteen healthy old people. The tests showed that patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's made errors when told to look away from the light. When asked to try the test again, the subjects repeatedly failed with the same error. Also, subjects who failed the light test were asked to take part in memory function tests. The results showed that those with failing light test scores also had low memory function test scores. The results of these tests are vital to the diagnosis of Alzheimer's. They provide viable tools for early diagnosis, and possible early treatment options. Even though Alzheimer's is not able to be cured yet, management of this disease may be beneficial if it is diagnosed at an earlier stage before severe symptoms begin to show. Also scientists in France have discovered that changes in the Retina may show early signs of Alzheimer's disease development, as well as mapping the brain using PET scans to show brain changes years before Alzheimer's symptoms begin to show. With these two experiments I conclude that new techniques that lead to early diagnosis are key in making steps to cure this disease. Many doctors say that without early detection, many drugs used for treatment or in clinical trials have failed because the disease was in stages too advanced for the drugs to combat the disease.
The duration of Alzheimer's, ending at death, ranges anywhere from two to twenty years. Symptoms of Alzheimer's will often become noticeable between the ages of 65 and 85, and often become more severe as the person grows older, or as the disease progresses. Although rare, Alzheimer's can manifest itself in patients as young as 45. It is termed "early onset" Alzheimer's disease if it is diagnosed before the age of 65. Alzheimer's disease was first discovered in the very early 1900's, by a German man named Alois Alzheimer. It was not considered a major disease until the 1970's. Alois Alzheimer had been studying a woman in her mid-fifties with greatly impaired cognitive, memory, and social skills. After her death, Alzheimer preformed an autopsy on her brain, revealing that she had plaque formations and neurofibrillary tangles. A neurofibrillary tangle is an insoluble microtubule-associated group of protein that usually is a big indicator of someone with Alzheimer's. However, not everyone with neurofibrillary tangles will develop Alzheimer's. Several test subjects have been found to be completely healthy, indicating that neural degeneration may not be related to neurofibrillary tangles. Neurofibrillary tangles contribute to only a small portion of neuron loss, roughly eight percent. The majority of neuron loss or degradation occurs before a neurofibrillary tangle is formed. To give a little extra background information, before Alzheimer's disease was discovered in 1907, most scientists viewed dementia and Alzheimer's as being a natural part of aging. The only reason Alzheimer's was recognized as a disease in the 1970's is because of the extensive amount of neurological research that occurred at that time. Research on Alzheimer's disease is difficult for numerous reasons. Alzheimer's disease develops very slowly and is complicated to diagnose. Cognitive skill levels vary greatly between patients, normally affected by the amount of education or social interaction the patient experiences in their lifetime. In order to have an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's, it becomes necessary for a patient to have a well-documented…