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Medical Overview - Alzheimer's Disease

            What is Alzheimer's disease? Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. The term "dementia" describes a loss of mental ability associated with the slow death of brain cells. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, neurological disorder that attacks the brain's nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking, language skills, and behavioral changes. The disease starts mild and gets progressively worse. Alzheimer's disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first presented a case history before a medical meeting of a 51-year-old woman who suffered from a rare brain disorder, back in 1906. .
             What are the causes of Alzheimer's disease? Researchers do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer's disease, but it is clear that it develops as the result of a complex series of events that take place in the brain over a long period of time. Plaques and tangles are prime suspects. Plaques are abnormal clusters of chemically "sticky" proteins called beta-amyloid that build up between nerve cells. Tangles are insoluble twisted fibers composed largely of the protein tau that builds up inside nerve cells. .
             What are the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease? Beginning from the hippocampus, the disease spreads here to the region of the brain where language is processed. When that happens, those with Alzheimer's may have trouble finding the right words to identify objects, express their thoughts and feelings. The disease moves slowly towards the frontal lobe, where logical thought takes place. .
             The person begins to slowly lose the ability to solve problems, planning and perform easy tasks, and making judgments become challenging. Next, the plaques and tangles occupy the amygdala where emotions are regulated. When the amygdala is severely damaged, they slowly lose control over their moods and feelings. After that, the disease moves to the parietal and temporal lobe, where integrating and processing sensory information takes place.

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