Memory Study

Alzheimer’s Introduction: What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and degenerative form of dementia that develops in the brain before going on to eventually destroy the memory of the Alzheimer’s sufferer, impair the ability to learn, make judgment, communicate effectively and also affecting the ability to live a normal daily life.

Alzheimer’s can also cause changes in behavior both mentally and physically as well as trigger paranoia, anxiety, delusion and even hallucinations. It is indeed a horrible and awful disease.

The disease affects over 15 million elderly men and women worldwide and it is the most common form of dementia, with over 75% of cases diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The disease acts by shrinking and eating away at areas of the brain, especially the memory (hippocampus) and thinking (cortex) areas.

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

No-one quite knows what actually causes Alzheimer’s disease and it is highly likely that no one single factor triggers Alzheimer’s, but a number of factors such as age, genetics and environmental factors that may well differ from one individual to another.

Some experts believe the destruction of brain nerve cells which causes a reduction in acetylcholine (a stimulator), with the damaged cells ultimately blocking the transmission of nerve signals to one another, to be one of the causes of Alzheimer’s.

Others believe abnormal proteins in the brain such as “plaques” and “tangles” are the instigators. These proteins get their name from how they appear on the brain under a microscopic lens.

Plaques are the result of a normal body protein called beta-amyloid that has been transformed into a toxic form of the protein which kills surrounding cells to form these plaque like fibers. The Neurofibrillary Tangle is similar to Plaques and is the result of a buildup of the protein Tau inside brain nerve cells.

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