Dr. Alois Alzheimer presented his findings on a woman who had died after years of having memory problems and confusion.
When Dr. Alzheimer autopsied the patient’s brain, he found thick deposits of neuritic plaques outside and around the nerve cells. He also found a lot of twisted bands of fibers or neurofibrillary tangles inside the nerve cells.
Today, medical specialists need to find the presence of the same plaques and tangles at autopsy in order to have a conclusive diagnosis that Alzheimer’s disease indeed caused the disease. And due to this lecture and achievement in research and studies, the medical community has bestowed the honor of naming the disease after Dr. Alzheimer.
However, Dr. Alzheimer’s work only signaled the start of years of medical research and studies which could only resolve the mysteries of the disease by so much. Up until now, Alzheimer’s disease has still unknown origin and remains to have no cure. At first, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease was limited for individuals between the ages of 45-65 since the symptoms of pre-senile dementia due to the histopathologic process are more common and prominent during this age.
However, during the 1970s and early 1980s, the term Alzheimer’s disease began to be used to refer to patients of all ages that manifest the same symptoms.
Statistics show that around 350,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease are being diagnosed each year. It is estimated that by 2050, there are 4.5 million Americans afflicted by the disease. Recent studies have shown that there is an increase risk of contracting and developing Alzheimer’s as one grows older.
It has been reported that 5 percent of Americans between the ages of 65 to 74 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Also, half of those in the 85 years and older age group are more likely to have the disease.
Genetics have also been seen as a factor in the development of the disease. Scientists have found out that mutations on chromosomes 9 and 19 have been associated with the later stages of Alzheimer’s. However, not everyone that manifests the mutations results to having the disease. Up until now, the relationship between genetics and late-onset Alzheimer’s is still a grey area.
Meanwhile, other research has associated trauma as a factor that increases the risk of acquiring the disease. There are also evidences which suggest that lack of exercise increases the risk factor of Alzheimer’s. It is important to avoid high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low levels folate in order to decrease the risk of developing the disease.
There are basically three stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Stage 1 or Mild Stage is the early of the disease. At this stage patients become less energetic and will experience slight memory loss. Often times, the symptoms at this stage are either go unnoticed or are ignored as but trivial or normal occurrences.
At Stage 2 or Moderate stage, the patient needs to be assisted in some complicated tasks and memory loss is no highly noticeable. The final stage is the severest stage. Because the disease already progresses too far this point, the patient is unable to perform simple tasks and will lose the ability to walk or eat without help.
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