09/04/2013

What is Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Alzheimer's Disease is the most common cause of dementia. In the early stages of the disease, individuals are unable to complete basic tasks to the most severe stage wherein an individual is unable to perform the basic activities of daily living.

Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles). Plaques and tangles in the brain are two of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. The third is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Source: National Institute on Aging. NIA Website

According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are currently 5 million Americans that are living with the disease. Approximately, 200,000 of these individuals are under the age of 65 years old. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be 16 million people with this disease. Source: Alzheimer's Association Alzheimer's Association Website