Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Higher dementia risk in women with prolonged fertility

Women with a longer reproductive period had an elevated risk for dementia in old age, compared with those who were fertile for a shorter period, a population-based study from the University of Gothenburg shows.

Neuroscience

How we sleep today may forecast when Alzheimer's disease begins

What would you do if you knew how long you had until Alzheimer's disease set in? Don't despair. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests one defense against this virulent form of dementia—for which ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Study links inflammation to Alzheimer's disease development

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative condition that is characterized by the buildup of clumps of beta-amyloid protein in the brain. Exactly what causes these clumps, known as plaques, and what role they play in disease ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Alzheimer's burden greater in rural Appalachia, study finds

Alzheimer's disease is more common in rural Appalachian Ohio communities than in other rural areas in the state—raising concerns about access to early, specialized care in a region where many residents face struggles getting ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Estrogen replacement may protect against Alzheimer's disease in women

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia. It affects more women than men. A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease indicates that factors such ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

People with increased risk of Alzheimer's have deficits in navigating

Animals and humans have the ability to follow their own position in space through self-motion cues, even in the absence of any other sensory information. "If you get up at night and want to find your way to the bathroom in ...

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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