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Alzheimers Disease By Maddy A.

     Alzheimers:noun; a common form of dementia of unknown cause, usually beginning in late middle age, characterized by memory lapses, confusion, emotional instability, and progressive loss of mental ability. (Definition of Alzheimers, taken from Dictionary.com.)  Alzheimers is a disease that was first discovered in 1906 by German physician, Alois Alzheimer. Over time scientists have discovered a lot aout Alzheimers, the treatments, symptoms, a day in the life of a patient, and much, much, more! Alzheimers symtoms come very slowly, maybe just a sign of old age. So family members dismiss them readily, and do not notice them as much.
    People with Alzheimers look normal, and you can't tell that someone has Alzheimers from the outside. But looks can be deceiving. Once you get to know a person with Alzheimers, there is no denying that they have it. Some people with Alzheimers forget things, can't find the right words to say, or ask the same questions over and over. Some people with Alzheimers might not even remember the names of people close to them! It is a very sad disease for the people who have it and their friends and family, but doctors are working for a cure!
    Because there is no official cure for Alzheimer's disease, the main treatments are just preserving the brain and controlling symptoms. And scientists are working every day to find a cure for this disease. Some treatments are also able to slow the process down. Every little thing helps and in order to find a cure, doctors have to take it slow.   
    As you can see, the difference between a normal brain and a brain with severe Alzheimer's disease is vital. but as long as we can preserve what is left of the brain and maybe slow down the process, fewer people will lose their memory to Alzheimer's before scientists can find a cure! 
        Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease yet, scientists are getting closer and closer every day. There are many associations that support this cause and are willing to donate money for research. Right now there is no treatment to cure this disease but there are many studies to find one. There are also drugs that can help tame the symptoms! There is no way to test for Alzheimer’s, and so research on risk factors is vital. Medical Colleges did a study on about 700 nuns over the age of 75, because their diet excludes; drinking, smoking, and doing drugs, which are some of the main risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease. A vaccine, that prevents beta-amyloid protein (the cause of Alzheimer's) from leaking into the brain has been created. It has been tested on animals and healthy human volunteers successfully, and will be tested on  patients with Alzheimer's in the future. Studies like this are just the beginning of a great search to find a cure for Alzheimer's!

Current Events 
    There are many current events going on to help research for Alzheimer's Disease. One of these events, is the ICAD, The International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease. This conference brings together a bunch of researchers who brainstorm and share ideas about research in the Alzheimer's area.  In 2008, this conference took place in Chicago, Illinois, and at this conference, the Association announced that the conferences will become annual, to keep up with current research on Alzheimer's Disease. http://www.alz.org/icad/
     There have been many studies on different advances in the treatments and knowledge about Alzheimer's Disease.  Some current research studies have shown that some non inflamitory drugs like asprin and ibiprofen can help control symptoms. Also, a plant called ginkgo biloba has the same effect. But because there is no way to test for Alzheimer's, and the symptoms are so simular to normal memory loss, it is hard to tell whether someone has Alzheimer's. That is one of the main issues of research.  
                Four days ago, January 19, there was an article posted on Medical News Today, an online journal. There is a new study taking place at UC Davis. They are looking to find a way to make a special X-ray called an MRI that will be able to map the brain and be able to detect the presence of Alzheimer's, before symptoms begin to appear. The study will also be looking to find a way to show the rate at which the brain will begin to deteriorate and lose good judgement and focus.    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/135844.php
A Day In The Life
    As I have mentioned before, even just talking to your family and friends can be a very difficult task for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. My grandpa had Alzheimer’s disease and it was very hard for him. He died in the summer of last year, but before that he had trouble even finding the right words to finish a sentence! My grandma and grandpa had to move from their big house to a smaller apartment. Partly because he would do something small like misplace his keys, but because of his Alzheimer’s he wouldn’t have even an idea of where they were. He would have to search all over their house.So small tasks  would turn into a huge hassle!!! In a normal day, someone with Alzheimer's Disease may feel frusterated a lot for not being able to find the right words to explain things. It is kind of like a baby, when they can't talk, or are just learning, because both have trouble expressing things.

      People with Alzheimer's lose their ability to have good judgement, finish sentences, or even just remember the names of people close to them. It is a very hard disease for the brain.


    One of the main risk factors for Alzheimer's Disease is genetics. If a family member such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, ect. has or had Alzheimer's, the chances of getting it are booted up. The most common form of Alzheimer's Disease is Late-onset. There are three different alleles you can inherit, and the type you get will increase the risk of getting Alzheimer's Disease. The first is APOE epsilon2.  APOE epsilon2 is fairly rare, and a person with this allele that gets Alzheimer's disease will get it later in life. The next is APOE epsilon3.  This allele is said to neither decrease or increase risk, and it is the most common type. The last is APOE epsilon4.  This allele although associated with increased risk is only present in about 25 to 30 percent of the people with Alzheimer's. The other form of Alzheimer's is early-onset. This form makes up only about 5 percent of the cases of Alzheimer's, and it has to do with mutations on certain chromosomes. In the end, genetics can help determine the risk of getting this disease.

        Alzheimer's Disease effects the brain in a huge way, from the cells to the structure. The genetics help eat away the brain. As you can see........................the brain on the left looks much fuller than the brain with Alzheimer's, on the right!  
Here are some words that you may have not understood, (or I didn't understand) in reading or gathering information on this project:           
Alleles: n.  Any of the possible forms in which a gene for a specific trait can occur. In almost all animal cells, two alleles for each gene are inherited, one from each parent. Paired alleles (one on each of two paired chromosomes) that are the same are called homozygous, and those that are different are called heterozygous. In heterozygous pairings, one allele is usually dominant, and the other recessive. Complex traits such as height and longevity are usually caused by the interactions of numerous pairs of alleles, while simple traits such as eye color may be caused by just one pair.  
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): n.  Also called NMR. magnetic resonance imaging: a noninvasive diagnostic procedure employing an MR scanner to obtain detailed sectional images of the internal structure of the body.
 Ginkgo Biloba: n.  a large shade tree, Ginkgo biloba, native to China, having fan-shaped leaves and fleshy seeds with edible kernels: the sole surviving species of the gymnosperm family Ginkgoaceae, which thrived in the Jurassic Period, and existing almost exclusively in cultivation.
Videos On Alzheimer's Disease
Please go to these links to watch two interesting videos about Alzheimer's Disease:
Maddy's Slideshow on Alzheimer's Disease:
Bibliograpy: These are all of the Sites where I got my information!
  • "Alzheimer's Disease." Alzheimer's Association. 18 June, 2008. Alzheimer's Association. 22 Jan 2009 <http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_alzheimers_disease.asp>.
  • Crystal, Howard. "Alzheimer's Disease." MedicineNet.com. 22 Jan 2009 <http://www.medicinenet.com/alzheimers_disease/article.htm>.
  • "Just for Kids & Teens." Alzheimer's Association. Alzheimer's Association. 22 Jan 2009 http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_just_for_kids_and_teens.asp#brain.
  • Piero G. Antuono, MD. "Current Research on Alzheimer's, Memory Loss, and Ageing." Health Link: Medical College of Wisconsin. 16 Jan 2009 http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/980547889.html.
  •  "Alzheimer's Research Starts Here: Register Now." ICAD: The Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease. ICAD. 22 Jan 2009 http://www.alz.org/icad/.
  • Phyllis Brown . "Mapping The Brain Patterns Of Alzheimer's Disease." 23 Jan 2009 <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/135844.php>.