What is Alzheimer?
The gray-haired old lady cannot wait to leave the building to search for her dad. Unless watched, she will walk the streets in an effort to locate her father, who died 30 years ago. Yes, she is afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, a condition so debilitating, it robs a patient not only of memory, sight and mobility, but even personality.
Alzheimer's disease is a physical illness that causes changes in the brain. It is a form of dementia. Dementia affects a person's memory, mood, and behavior.
Alzheimer's disease usually affects people over 65. A person with this disease has trouble remembering, speaking, learning, making judgments, and planning. Some people feel restless and moody. It may take many years for Alzheimer's disease to get worse.
People often do become more forgetful as they grow older. However, Alzheimer's disease causes more than just memory loss. Its symptoms can impact every part of a person's life. Alzheimer's disease leads to changes in behavior, personality, and abilities. Over time, people with the disease have trouble doing common daily activities, such as bathing or getting dressed.
The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can be frustrating for a person with the disease. Dealing with these symptoms can also be difficult for family members of the suffering patient. It may help to understand that these changes are no one's fault. They are part of the disease.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease and no way to slow the progression of the disease. For some people in the early or middle stages of the disease, certain medications may alleviate some cognitive symptoms.
In addition, some medications may help control behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety, and depression. These treatments are aimed at making the patient more comfortable.
However, scientists have identified the region of the brain responsible for long-term memory, bringing closer the development of treatments for Alzheimer's disease.
American researchers pinpointed a part of the brain - the anterior cingulate - that controls the storage and retrieval of distant recollections. The breakthrough opens up a new field of research into ways to treat diseases, like Alzheimer's that affect the memory.
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