Scientistsconsider Alzheimer a type of dementia associated with the loss ofcognitive abilities. The risks of getting the disease increase withage but the notion that Alzheimer is part of a normal aging processis flawed. The symptoms of the disease occur slowly, but the severityincrease as the illness progresses (Jack, Knopman, Jagust, Petersenet. al, 2013). The paper will discuss the changes to the body due tothe disease (pathophysiology) and possible treatment methods.
Variationsin the brain
Prefrontal lobesare areas of the brain associated with cognitive abilities. Researchers have not established concisely where the damage to thebrain begins. However, the brain communication networks (neurons)seem to be the primary target in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer. Thedamage starts at a small scale but magnifies with time furtherdepressing the individual cognitive abilities (Alzheimer’s, 2015).Notably, the damaged cells die off limiting the brain capacity tohandle and interpret messages.
Scientists haveidentified two culprits responsible for damaging the brain cells(plaques and tangles). Analysis of plaque shows they contain aprotein called beta amyloid. In fact, early diagnosis of the diseaseassesses the levels of this protein in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).On the other hand, tangles have been found to contain a proteincalled tau that accumulates in the brain cell (Alzheimer’s, 2015).Notably, tangles and plaque usually develop in individuals as theyage and probably, that is the reason why people think Alzheimer ispart of the standard aging process. However, people with Alzheimerdevelop the tangles and plaques at higher rates. The two proteinsblock communication networks of the brain.
Effectson Body Functions
The brain is atthe center of control of body functions. Luckily, areas of the brainconcerned with breathing, heartbeat, and the disease does not affecthormonal changes. Changes the body are associated with any other mooddisorder including weakness due to loss of appetite (Alzheimer’s,2015). The hallmark of Alzheimer disease is the inability to rememberclose relatives including the name of the children or spouse.
Medications canbe given to reduce the effects of memory loss and changes in sleep.Palliative care can be used to lessen the burden of the disease inthe community. Alternative and complementary medicine, which is acollection of therapeutical techniques, is also widely used (Jack,Knopman, Jagust, Petersen et. al, 2013).
In conclusion,the causes of Alzheimer remain unknown. However, its impacts on thebrain are apparent especially the loss of cognitive abilities. Thetreatments options are limited, but research on this area is ongoing.
Jack, C. R.,Knopman, D. S., Jagust, W. J., Petersen, R. C., Weiner, M. W., Aisen,P. S., … & Lesnick, T. G. (2013). Trackingpathophysiological processes in disease: an updatedhypothetical model of dynamic biomarkers. The LancetNeurology, 12(2), 207-216.
Alzheimer’s, A.(2015). 2015 disease facts and figures. & dementia: the journal of the Association, 11(3),332.
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