Alzheimer’s Disease Explained

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

puzzle pieces in profile of head missing

In simple terms, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease affecting the brain and its many complex functions. It is characterised by the degeneration of nerve cells (neurons) in several areas of the brain. It is the commonest form of dementia, accounting for at least 60 per cent of dementia in older people. It is named after the German physician, Alois Alzheimer who first identified the condition in 1907. 

 

Alzheimer’s disease involves large numbers of nerve cells in the brain dying. During the progression of the condition, protein deposits, known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, appear, and spread throughout the brain, leading to the death of cells. There is also a shortage of important chemical transmitters, such as acetylcholine, in the brain structure. These are important for the transmission of messages among brain cells, and therefore affect the functioning of the brain itself. Many of the blood vessels are also damaged, and these processes are made worse by inflammation in the brain and by excessive amounts of highly reactive molecules known as free radicals which damage brain tissue.  

 

Eventually, the connections between brain cells are lost, and it is this process that causes the effects of AD. Alzheimer’s disease is not an inevitable consequence of normal ageing, or even accelerated ageing.  

Symptoms

 

Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include: problems with daily tasks, general disorientation, misplacing everyday items, the use of inappropriate words or word-finding difficulty, persistent forgetfulness, mood or behavioural changes and decreased judgement. 

 

As for diagnosis, it can be difficult to confirm a person’s diagnosis, especially in the early stages of the disease.  the symptoms of dementia usually develop slowly and can be similar to other conditions. A doctor can observe the pattern of symptoms and perform some simple tests to measure any changes over time. Although currently used tests are fairly accurate, a definitive diagnosis can still only be made after death by examining the brain via scans and sophisticated equipment. 

Treatment

 

There is currently no known cure, although there is a range of treatment options that can improve the lives of those with AD and the carers, families and friends who are involved with people who have this condition.  

 

Other types of dementia include: Vascular dementia (including Multi-infarct dementia and Binswanger’s disease), Lewy Body Disease (dementia with Lewy Bodies), and Frontotemporal dementia (including Pick’s disease and Primary Progressive Aphasia). AIDS-related dementia also exists, and there is also a rare condition, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the so-called ‘mad cow disease’). 

 

Our knowledge of these – and related – conditions are improving thanks to extensive research. If you are interested in improving your understanding of the brain, how it works, and how it can be affected by various conditions,  then you may be interested in completing the Neuropsychology or Biopsychology courses that are offered by the Academy for Distance Learning.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

LEAVE A REPLY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

BLOG CATEGORIES

MOST POPULAR

Introducing ADL courses by Carrier Pigeon!

After our UFOlogy course’s great success last year, we’re bringing our incredible community of students a new way to learn from home. Our team of specially trained albino pigeons will come and deliver course material straight to you! After enrolment is complete, we’ll send you an audio file that our birds are trained to hear

Read More »

Four ways that you use AI every day!

Artificial Intelligence may have seemed like something out of a high-tech sci-fi film a couple of years ago, but now it is here and making waves. The technology is so useful that we use it in a lot of our everyday life without realising, so here are four exciting uses of AI in your day-to-day

Read More »

Roses in Pakistan: A Gallery

Elizabeth, one of our students studying Rose Growing has sent us a fabulous selection of scenic photos of Roses in Pakistan that we’d like to share with you. “These photos are of Christmas at a friend’s farm in Pakistan. So even in Pakistan, you have happy roses. I worked for six years in Karachi/Pakistan. But

Read More »

RHS EXAMS and Syllabus Changes for 2021

PDF: RHS COURSE CHANGES NOTICE for 2021 Exams for February 2021 can now be booked; please note the RHS now raises its fees every year in September, so there is a new rate for 2021 exam fees. As the COVID situation continues to affect everyone, the RHS have decided that it would be sensible to

Read More »

3 TED Talks to Help You on Your Learning Journey

Here at ADL, we pride ourselves on supporting life-long learning in all of its forms. Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) educational talks are a brilliant supplement to whatever you are currently learning because they can help us take apart some of the issues that we all face as learners and more generally in life. So,

Read More »

SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Scroll to Top