Alzheimer's Disease

Kayla Harper & Meghan Hackney

Alzheimer's is a disease that causes people to have memory loss. There is no cure for this disease and it gradually get worse over time. Alzheimer's will eventually lead to death.


Alzheimer's was first diagnosed in 1906 by German physician Alois Alzheimer.
He had a patient who suffered from memory loss, suspicions about her family, and other psychological changes. When he autopsied her brain, he saw a dramatic size changes in nerve and brain cells.

Anatomy & Physiology

The cerebral cortex in the brain shrinks and is dramatically different from a normal brain. The cerebral cortex is the outer surface of the brain that is responsible for all intellectual functioning.


On the brain, a protein called beta-amyloid shows up in irregular clumps or clusters. They stick together and form a plaque. The plaque interrupts signals between the nerve cells where information passes.
In a normal brain, a protein called tau stabilizes the microtubules that help the structure of a cell. In an Alzheimer's diseased brain, the microtubules don't receive the protein causing the brain cells to eventually fall apart and die.


Although the cause is not very clear, scientists believe that Alzheimer's disease might result from a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors.

Behavioral issues

Behavioral issues associated with Alzheimer's disease is irritability, anxiety, and depression. These occur in earlier stages. In later stages people may experience sleep disturbance, physical or verbal outbursts, restlessness, and hallucinations.

Physical issues

Alzheimer's disease attacks the brain and the body. Such issues include, constipation, dental problems, problems with eyesight, fits, hearing loss, jerking movements, pressure sores. The physical toll f Alzheimer's is similar to cancer. Another physical toll would be being placed in a nursing home.

Cognitive issues

Mild cognitive impairment is a condition where people have memory loss or may think that they have greater than normal for their age or education. This may also cause them to have poor judgement. MCI normally progresses to Alzheimer's disease.


Medication for Alzheimer's include Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, Cognex, and Namenda.

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy varies for each person. The average after diagnosis is 8 to 10 years. Although in some cases, it can be as short as three years or as long as 20 years.

Therapy Interventions

Some therapeutic interventions is nerve growth factors, and nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs.

Research currently being done

They are doing reseach to reduce the amount of amyloid plaques being produced. Then they are trying to completely remove them.


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