Alzheimer's disease & dementia

7T brain scans reveal potential early indicator of Alzheimer's

Researchers from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas are investigating a potential new early indicator of the decline toward Alzheimer's disease: measuring the energy metabolism of the living human ...

Neuroscience

Alzheimer's disease is composed of four distinct subtypes

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the abnormal accumulation and spread of the tau protein in the brain. An international study can now show how tau spreads according to four distinct patterns that lead to different ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Possible new PET tracer for early detection of Alzheimer's

New biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease are a priority area for researchers seeking to learn more about the disease and find possible methods of early diagnosis. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now studied ...

Neuroscience

How a tangled protein kills brain cells, promotes Alzheimer's

Look deep inside the brain of someone with Alzheimer's disease, most forms of dementia or the concussion-related syndrome known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and you'll find a common suspected culprit: stringy, ...

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Alzheimer's disease (AD), also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease, is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death. It was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him.

Most often, AD is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age, although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier. In 2006, there were 26.6 million sufferers worldwide. Alzheimer's is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050.

Although Alzheimer's disease develops differently for every individual, there are many common symptoms. Early symptoms are often mistakenly thought to be 'age-related' concerns, or manifestations of stress. In the early stages, the most common symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events. When AD is suspected, the diagnosis is usually confirmed with tests that evaluate behaviour and thinking abilities, often followed by a brain scan if available.

As the disease advances, symptoms can include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, trouble with language, and long-term memory loss. As the sufferer declines they often withdraw from family and society. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. Since the disease is different for each individual, predicting how it will affect the person is difficult. AD develops for an unknown and variable amount of time before becoming fully apparent, and it can progress undiagnosed for years. On average, the life expectancy following diagnosis is approximately seven years. Fewer than three percent of individuals live more than fourteen years after diagnosis.

The cause and progression of Alzheimer's disease are not well understood. Research indicates that the disease is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain. Current treatments only help with the symptoms of the disease. There are no available treatments that stop or reverse the progression of the disease. As of 2012[update], more than 1000 clinical trials have been or are being conducted to find ways to treat the disease, but it is unknown if any of the tested treatments will work. Mental stimulation, exercise, and a balanced diet have been suggested as possible ways to delay symptoms in healthy older individuals, but they have not been proven as effective.

Because AD cannot be cured and is degenerative, the sufferer relies on others for assistance. The role of the main caregiver is often taken by the spouse or a close relative. Alzheimer's disease is known for placing a great burden on caregivers; the pressures can be wide-ranging, involving social, psychological, physical, and economic elements of the caregiver's life. In developed countries, AD is one of the most costly diseases to society.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA