Alzheimer's disease and Dementia

Essay by ndawg012University, Bachelor'sA, September 2008

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Abstract: Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and accounts for 50%-60% of all cases. The disease destroys brain cells and nerves disrupting the transmitters, which carry messages in the brain, particularly those responsible for storing memories. Alois Alzheimer first described Alzheimer's disease in 1906 (Alzheimer's disease International 2004).

The research showed that psychotic and behavioral symptoms are common among older patients with dementia. The behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are clearly noticed by observation of patient behaviors, such as, physical aggression, screaming, restlessness, agitation, wandering, culturally inappropriate behaviors, sexual disinhibition, hoarding, cursing, and shadowing. Psychological symptoms are identified by interviews with patients and their families, relatives or care givers. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, depressive mood, hallucinations and delusions (Beier, 2007).

Antipsychotic medications are the most widely prescribed treatment for BPSD. Atypical antipsychotic medications are among the most well-studied therapeutic classes of psychoactive medications and are frequently utilized for treating psychotic symptoms and agitation in the elderly.

However, these medications have distinct pharmacologic profiles with different liabilities for adverse effects such as sedation, metabolic disturbances, and anticholinergic effects. The data that showed recent findings from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness-Alzheimer's Disease (CATIE-AD) study demonstrate that these agents have some efficacy, and their adverse effects may limit their utility in patients (Beier, 2007). Therefore, the adverse effect profile should be a very important consideration for the health care professionals selecting an atypical antipsychotic medication for use in this elderly population.

Introduction: Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and accounts for 50-60% of all cases. Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behavior and emotion. The symptoms of dementia include, personality and mood changes, difficulty in performing routine tasks, difficulty in finding the right words or...