Anti aging guide

Alzheimer’s disease and Care of Patients



What causes Alzheimer’s disease and how to care of Alzheimer’s disease patients?

Some authorities believe that Alzheimer’s disease merely represents an acceleration of normal age changes, others regard it as a specific disease, while yet others view the distinction between disease and normal aging as spurious (attempting ‘to separate the undefined from the indefinable’). In Alzheimer’s disease, the cortex of the brain is thin with gross neuronal loss, particularly in the temporal lobes and certain other areas, including a particular, minute location in the brain stem. Microscopy reveals that there are many more senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles to be seen than in ‘normal’ aged brains. There is depletion of some of the transmitter amines throughout the cortex, but unfortunately, pharmacological man oeuvres aimed at enhancing neurotransmitter activity have so far signally failed to yield as good a response in Alzheimer’s disease as they have in depression and Parkinson’s disease.

Useful though these descriptive studies are in clarifying the clinical manifestations of the disease, they still beg an explanation of the underlying cause. In a few cases there is a clear genetic basis, and interestingly, the gene implicated has been located on chromosome 21 which is present in triplicate instead of duplicate in Down’s syndrome (in which features of Alzheimer’s disease are prominent at a relatively early age). Other theories come and go, with aluminum toxicity having enjoyed a recent temporary resurgence and a possible slow virus receiving some support from those who detect parallels with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) and the loss of brain function seen in AIDS. Research is progressing apace into this major cause of suffering, death, disability, and expenditure.

The earlier stages of the illness may last for as many as seven years and are usually followed by more rapid progress over two or three years culminating in death. It rapidly erodes the capacity to lead an active, independent, decision-making existence so that a great deal of help will be required from the family or from the community services. When behavioral problems such as wandering or nocturnal restlessness become prominent, it may still be possible to support sufferers in their own homes with the help of day care and respite admissions to institutional care.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - April 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm