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Alzheimer’s Disease

● More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease

● Worldwide, nearly 50 million people have Alzherimer’s or related dementia

● Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States

● Between 2000 and 2018, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 146%

● 50% of primary care physicians believe that the medical profession is not ready for the growing number of people for the growing number of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias

Definition: Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking skills. The damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, parts of the brain essential in forming memories. As more neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected and begin to shrink. By the final stage of Alzheimer’s, damage is widespread, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.

History: In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer, a young psychiatrist, observed a patient who experienced memory loss, difficulty speaking, and confusion. After her death, Alzheimer examined her brain material microscopically using new stains that revealed the presence of what we now call amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Alzheimer later published his descriptions of his findings in his psychiatry textbook. The disease got its name when his colleague named the disease after Alzheimer. By 1911, doctors were using Alzheimer’s research to diagnose other patients. Around the 1990s, researchers identified that the beta amyloid protein was a factor in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Brain Abnormalities:

● The brain of an Alzheimer’s patient eventually shrinks down (atrophies) to as little as one-third of its normal size as the disease progresses

● An Alzheimer’s infected brain has folds that are much more narrow than a normal brain

● Early signs of the disease include forgetting conversations or recent events

● As the disease progresses, people can have severe memory impairment and lose the ability to carry out everyday tasks

Types of Alzheimer’s:

● Early Onset: symptoms appear between ages 30 and 60; very rare

● Late Onset: symptoms appear around age 60


● There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s

● Medications can temporarily improve or slow the progression of symptoms

Sources: c-20350447

BY: Richa Kuklani

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