As a new era dawns upon us many people find themselves asking the question; "What is Alzheimer's Disease?" Alzheimer's Disease today affects almost all people in some way. Since the amount of lives this disease affects continues to increase epidemiologists have named Alzheimer's Disease, "The Disease of the Century".
In 1906 a German neurologist Alois Alzheimer performed a neurological autopsy on a 56-year-old woman who had suffered deteriorating mental health for many years before her death. Alzheimer noticed a disorganization of nerve cells in her cerebral cortex, the area of the brain responsible for controlling memory and reasoning. There were two oddities he found. The first was an accumulation of cellular debris surrounding the nerves he called this senile plaque. The second oddity were groups of nerves that were bunched and twisted he called this neurofibrillary tangles. In the following years as more autopsies were conducted the same oddities that were found in 1906 were found in patients displaying the same symptoms. At that time a prestigious German psychiatrist, Emil Kraepelin, proposed naming the disease in honor of its discoverer Alois Alzheimer. (http://www.Alzheimers.com). .
Alzheimer's Disease is a chronic brain disorder that destroys one's ability to reason, remember, imagine and learn. The disease is also known as "senile dementia" or "pre-senile dementia". Dementia refers to the lost of mental health. The term "senile" means old. "Pre-Senile" refers to those patients less than 65 years of age. (http://www.alzheimers.com). Lesions on brain cells that take the form of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles cause Alzheimer's Disease. Healthy brain tissue is normally arranged in an organized pattern. These knots and tangles throw the brain into mass confusion taking over and destroying healthy brain tissue. This causes the brain cells to stop functioning. Recently a protein Tau has been discovered in these tangles and knots.