Alzhiemer's Disease

Sadaf Faisal Bhopal
Mbbs Student

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in elderly and about 5 million people in the United States are estimated to be afflicted by this disorder, resulting in 100,000 deaths per year,the number doubling with every five years of age.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder or premature aging of the brain. The cause of the disease is unknown but there is evidence of genetic predisposition. Patients with trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome), high levels of blood lipids, diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis are also at a higher risk for developing this disease but the exact cause and its cure is an area of great interest for researchers world over.
Alzheimer’s disease results in extreme loss of mental powers, memory loss, disintegration of personality, deterioration of speech, visuospatial deficits and restlessness and in later stages the patient becomes mute, incontinent and bedridden. Pathological studies show increased amount of beta amyloid peptide in widespread brain areas including the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia, thalamus, and the cerebellum. These beta amyloid plaques are basically accumulation of several proteins around degenerating nervous tissue and they lead to deficiency of acetylcholine neurotransmitter thus resulting in the various symptoms of the disease.
At present there is no clinical test for making definite diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease apart from taking careful history, psychiatric examinations and checking the amyloid peptide levels in serum or cerebrospinal fluid. As is the cause and diagnosis, the treatments for the disease are also under research although administration of cholinesterase inhibitors( which increase the neurotransmitter acetyl choline levels in the brain) have shown to alleviate some of the symptoms of the disease.


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