This research paper examines one of the most feared human diseases, which is
Alzheimer’s disease. In this research paper, the following topics are analyzed thoroughly:
description of the disease, etiology and pathogenesis, pathophysiology, symptoms and
signs, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, research, and medical glossary.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is known to be one of the most common forms of
dementia. Dementia is a general term used to denote a wide variety range of symptoms
linked with a decline in memory and cognitive skills, severe enough to hinder a person’s
ability to carry out their normal day-to-day activities. (Alzheimer’s Association, n.d.).
According to Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease accounts approximately 60
to 80 percent of all cases of dementia. (Markus MacGill, 2009)
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease of the brain, which slowly and inexorably
destroys nerve cells, thereby causing memory loss and cognitive impairment. In the most
severe case of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient loses all of their mental functioning and
memory. Thus, Alzheimer’s disease mainly affects the brain and spread to the different
parts of the brain that control coordination, walking, talking, etc.
In 1906, a German physician by the name of Dr. Alois Alzheimer described
Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Alois Alzheimer had a female patient who was in her in fifties
that suffered from mental illness. However, in 1906 the patient died and an autopsy was
performed. In the autopsy, neuritic plaques were revealed around and outside the nerve
cells in her brain. Within the nerve cells, there was a presence of neurofibrillary tangles,
which is build-up of proteins that appear as part of a normal aging process. However, in
Alzheimer’s disease, the patient has far more build up of neurofibrillary tangles than a
person who does not have the disease. (THE BRAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM, n.d.)
The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, but according to researchers, there
are several risk factors that are associated with its development. Some of the risk factors
include aging and genetics. Aging is known to be the most significant type of risk factor
for such disease. This disease occurs most often in the elderly, but can still occur in
younger people. Genetics is also a risk factor one to develop the disease. Even though,
most cases of Alzheimer’s disease is not hereditary, the small percentage of cases are
correlated with the genes that are specific to cause the inherited form of the disease.
There are genetic testing available, but they are not widely available in Canada. The
genetic testing is mainly available for those individuals who have a strong family history
of the disease. (Alzheimer's Disease, 2013)
There are screening tests available to determine whether a person may be at risk
for Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the screening procedures include Mini-mental state
exam (MMSE), mini-cog, and mood...