Alzheimer's Disease, includes a .bmp diagram not visible in ansii

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 1996

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We are currently living in the age of technology. Our advancements in the past few

decades overshadow everything learned in the last 2000 years. With the elimination of many

diseases through effective cures and treatments, Canadians can expect to live a much longer life

then that of their grandparents. In 1900 about 4% of the Canadian population was over the age of

65. In 1989 that figure tripled to 12% and the government expects that figure to rise to 23% by

the year 2030 (Medical,1991,p.13). This increase has brought with it a large increase in diseases

associated with old age. Alzheimer's dementia (AD) is one of the most common and feared

diseases afflicting the elderly community. AD, once thought to be a natural part of aging, is a

severely debilitating form of mental dementia. Although some other types of dementia are curable

or effectively treatable, there is currently no cure for the Alzheimer variety.

A general overview of Alzheimer's disease including the clinical description, diagnosis,

and progression of symptoms, helps one to further understand the treatment and care of patients,

the scope of the problem, and current research.

The clinical definition of dementia is 'a deterioration in intellectual performance that

involves, but is not limited to, a loss in at least 2 of the following areas: language, judgement,

memory, visual or depth perception, or judgement interfering with daily activities' (Institute,1996,


The initial cause of AD symptoms is a result of the progressive deterioration of brain cells

(neurons) in the cerebral cortex of the brain. This area of the brain, which is the largest and

uppermost portion, controls all our thought processes, movement, speech, and senses. This

deterioration initially starts in the area of the cortex that is associated with memory and then

progresses into other areas...