Neurology-Alzheimer's and Dementia
By: Amanda W.
Alzheimer's and Dementia are diseases that affect the way the brain works. Most people develop these diseases in old age when their brain starts to deteriorate.
How do these diseases affect the brain?
Alzheimer's disrupts the way electrical charges travel within cells, and the activity of neurotransmitters is affected as well. This causes the affected person to experience memory loss, difficulty in performing everyday tasks, and a variety of other symptoms that worsen over time. Dementia causes a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with everyday life. Most people experience memory loss as well as difficulty in focusing and speaking. There is no known cause of dementia, and there are also no known cures for Alzheimer's and dementia.
What part of the brain is affected by these diseases?
Alzheimer's is a form of Dementia in which cells in the cortex start to die. This causes the brain to shrink and spaces in the brain to grow. The hippocampus, located in the cortex, forms memories, and when this is harmed the memories start to slowly leave and stop forming all together. The other parts of the brain that are affected include the temporal lobe, the frontal lobe, and the parietal lobe. This makes the affected person experience many symptoms.
How many people are affected by these diseases each year?
About 4.5 million people have Alzheimer's today. By 2050 16 million people are expected to have Alzheimer's. Approximately 789 people are diagnosed with Alzheimer's daily. Twice as many women have it than men. The average age that people get diagnosed at is 75.