Alzheimer’s Disease

noun: Alzheimer’s Disease
  1. a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility. Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s is a disease that robs people of their memory. At first, people have a hard time remembering recent events, though they might easily recall things that happened years ago.

As time goes on, other symptoms can appear, including:

  • Trouble focusing
  • A hard time doing ordinary activities
  • Feeling confused or frustrated, especially at night
  • Dramatic mood swings — outbursts of anger, anxiety, and depression
  • Feeling disoriented and getting lost easily
  • Physical problems, such as an odd walk or poor coordination
  • Trouble communicating

People with Alzheimer’s might forget their loved ones. They might forget how to dress themselves, feed themselves, and use the toilet.

The disease makes brain tissue break down over time. It usually happens to people over age 65.

A person can live with Alzheimer’s disease for just a few years or for a few decades. More often, however, people live with it for about 9 years. About 1 in 8 people age 65 and over has the disease. Women are more likely to have it than men..

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

People who get Alzheimer’s disease are usually older, but the disease isn’t a normal part of aging. Scientists aren’t sure why some people get it and others don’t. But they do know that the symptoms it causes seem to come from two main types of nerve damage:

  • Nerve cells get tangles, called neurofibrillary tangles.
  • Protein deposits called beta-amyloid plaques build up in the brain

Plaques between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. … In a healthy brain, these protein fragments would break down and be eliminated. In Alzheimer’s disease, the fragments accumulate to form hard, insoluble plaques. Neurofibrillary tangles are insoluble twisted fibers found inside the brain’s nerve cells.


What cells are affected by Alzheimer’s?

Beta amyloid is a protein fragment snipped from an amyloid precursor protein (APP). In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are broken down and eliminated. In Alzheimer’s disease, the fragments accumulate to form hard, insoluble plaques. plaques between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain.
Damage to brain structure and function. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects 5 million people in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The progressive disease disrupts memory and thinking. It also impairs and eventually kills brain cells.
The cortex includes the hippocampus, which is an area of the brain that helps new memories form. The damage to the brain eventually causes problems with memory, intelligence, judgment, language, and behavior. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of mental decline, or dementia, in older adults.
During this preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people seem to be symptom-free, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain. Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain, and once-healthy neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die.
Atrophy in this area of the brain helps explain why one of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is often impairment of memory, especially the formation of new memories. Hippocampus atrophy has also been correlated with the presence of tau protein that builds up as Alzheimer’s disease progresses
In Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells lose their ability to form new connections with other cells. … As the disease gets worse, nerve cells begin to die. The death of nerve cells destroys the brain’s ability to understand the world.
However, not all people with MCI develop Alzheimer’s. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease worsen over time, although the rate at which the disease progresses varies. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors.
The limbic system consists of a number of structures, including the fornix, hippocampus, cingulate gyrus, amygdala, the parahippocampal gyrus, and parts of the thalamus. The hippocampus is one of the first areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease progresses, damage extends throughout the lobes.
Many people have amyloid plaques in the brain but have no symptoms of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease. Because amyloid plaques cannot be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid imaging is not recommended for routine use in patients suspected of having Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that occurs when nerve cells in the brain die and often results in the following: impaired memory, thinking, and behavior. confusion. restlessness.


Massage for Azheimer’s Disease

The benefits. “People with Alzheimer’s disease don’t lose the capacity for human emotion or recognition of a caring touch, What I’ve seen is that even a person in the very late, severe state of Alzheimer’s retains all these capacities.
There are several benefits massage therapy offers people with Alzheimer’s disease, including increased body awareness and alertness, as well as a reduction in the feelings of confusion and anxiety. You also build reassurance and trust.
Massage therapy can also help ease the effects of isolation, loneliness and boredom while encouraging feelings of worthiness and well-being.
The research. Although more research needs to be done, she does point to studies that indicate that the use of some forms of massage are effective in managing some of the challenging behavior exhibited by elders living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

For example, a 2002 study by R. Remington on the effect calming music and hand massage had on agitated behavior in persons with dementia found that both calm music and hand massage reduced verbal agitation, and the benefit was sustained for up to one hour.

A 1995 study conducted by Snyder et. al. examined the effect a five-minute hand massage protocol had on care activities that were often associated with agitation behaviors. Both aggressive and non aggressive forms of agitation were studied. The hand massage took five minutes, and was performed in the morning and afternoon for 10 days. Results showed that hand massage decreased the frequency and intensity of agitated behavior during morning care routines, but not during evening care.
Further Resources




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