Alzheimer's Disease is defined by the National Institute on Aging as progressive, irreversible declines in memory, performance of routine tasks, time and space orientation, language and communication skills, abstract thinking, and the ability to learn and carry out mathematical calculations. Other symptoms include personality changes and impaired judgement.
The hallmark changes of AD are dense deposits (neuritic plaques) of a protein fragment called beta amyloid outside the nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, and twisted strands (neurofibrillary tangles) of a protein called tau inside the cells. There is a loss of these neurons' connections (synapses) with other neurons in areas of the brain that are vital to memory and other mental abilities. This process is thought to also cause an inflammatory response, which has lead to the investigation of anti-inflammatory medications as an adjunctive therapy. In addition to the loss of neurons, there are also lower levels of chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain that carry complex messages back and forth between millions of nerve cells.
A team approach utilizing the expertise of the primary health care provider, nursing, and social work together with the patient, significant others, and caregivers is usually the most effective approach in treating AD. Other disciplines may, at times, be very important members of this team, including physical or occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychiatry, case management, support groups, clergy and hospice.
The Medifocus Guide on Alzheimer's Disease provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing Alzheimer's Disease?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease?
What treatment options are available for the management of Alzheimer's Disease?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in Alzheimer's Disease?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for Alzheimer's Disease?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about Alzheimer's Disease?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
The parahippocampal gyrus in Alzheimer's disease. Clinical and preclinical neuroanatomical correlates. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2000
From healthy aging to early Alzheimer's disease: in vivo detection of entorhinal cortex atrophy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2000
Homocysteine, Alzheimer's disease, and cognitive function. Nutrition. 2000
Molecular basis of Alzheimer's disease. Cellular & Molecular Life Sciences. 2000
Practice parameter: risk of driving and Alzheimer's disease (an evidence-based review): report of the quality standards subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2000
Cyclin' toward dementia: cell cycle abnormalities and abortive oncogenesis in Alzheimer disease. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 2000
Autotoxicity and Alzheimer disease. Archives of Neurology. 2000
Vascular abnormalities: the insidious pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging. 2000
Monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging. 2000
The role of cerebral ischemia in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging. 2000
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