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History of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Old Medicine Background

The history of Alzheimers disease has been a long and winding road. Which has fortunately, led to the discovery of important information about:

the causes

Symptoms

and difficulties of this unfortunate disease.

As of today a definite cure for the disease does not exist. Doctors and medical scientists are working towards a day… when hope for a cure will exist for people who have it and their children, who may have it in the future. For the current time, the medical community offers treatment.. for the symptoms to delay the onset of disabling dementia.

What is Alzheimers Disease?

The history of Alzheimer’s disease and the research that has gone into it… suggests that the condition is a neurological disease. One that occurs in the brain and progresses over time in severity. The condition causes mass loss of irreplaceable neurons and brain cells. This leads to a definite decline in a person’s ability to use certain mental capacities such as:

Reasoning

Judgment

Motor skills

And occupational skills.

Brief History of Alzheimer’s Disease

While this condition has been a used term in the medical circle for many years… no one was sure why certain patients were progressively worse… and displaying certain behaviors. It was not until 1906 that the disease was presented to the world… after many years of research by a man named … Aloysius Alzheimer, a psychiatrist and neuropathologist from Germany.

Dr. Alzheimer discovered a patient in the facility where he worked who had frequent bouts of… full memory loss.. paranoia … and decreased intellectual skills. These symptoms were constantly progressing and becoming worse. The doctor took an interest in to this patient and studied her condition until her death in 1906. When he sent the woman’s brain off for autopsy… doctors discovered that the patient’s brain contained numerous plaques and many neurofibrillary tangles … which over many years… doctors and medical experts have discovered … are the two main hallmarks of this condition.

Dementia and Alzheimers

Doctors have been aware of a distinct connection between… dementia and Alzheimer’s for many years. Many have trouble understanding that while people mistake dementia as a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease… the disease itself is actually one of the many types of dementia.

Dementia is a state of being… in which a person’s brain experiences permanent or temporary damage… to the point that intellectual mental functioning is likely to suffer. The ‘microscopic brain abnormalities’ create this condition often present in a person through:

Memory loss

Judgment impairment

Paranoia,

All which are symptoms of dementia in seniors. Numerous causes for dementia exist. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common preceptor. Especially in elderly and aging patients.

Alzheimers Disease Research

medical research

In the century since the conditions discovery… the history of Alzheimer’s disease has provided us with invaluable information that is still useful… in treating Alzheimer’s patients.. to give them the longest lifespan and best quality of life possible.

Currently, science has still not provided a definite and permanent cure Alzheimer’s. This would somehow involve reversing the brain damages… tangles, and plaques to allow the brain to revert back to proper function. Although they have been hard at work… scientists and medical researchers also have no definite answers as to preventative measures… that will keep future patients from suffering from the condition. They certainly keep trying.

Millions of dollars are set aside each year for this research. While the going is slow… the history of Alzheimer’s disease research.. has provided a number of medications… which are imperative to the treatment of the condition.

The disease is not reversible. Alzheimer’s patients can slow down the progression of the devastating symptoms. Allowing them to lengthen the amount of able-minded and able-bodied time… they have for themselves and with their family. In many instances, the earlier doctors diagnose the condition… the more likely the patient is to have a long and beneficial relationships… with the medications that help keep their brain functioning properly.

Alzheimer’s Medications

During the long history of Alzheimers disease… doctors have found that certain medications… are helpful in treating the symptoms of this disease.. as well as slowing their progression. Some of the popular Alzheimer treatment medications include:

  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors – This type of medication helps to.. increase the levels of neurotransmitters inside the brain. As the medicine continues to work… It treats problems related to:

Memory

Judgment

Language

And other various necessary intellectual processes. Examples:  Exelon, Razadyne and Aricept.

  • Memantine – This Alzheimer’s medication treats the condition by protecting brain cell damage.. from a chemical called glutamate in Alzheimer’s patients. Often prescribed alongside t cholinesterase inhibitor. Memantine is helpful in preserving a patient’s:

Memory

Language

Speech

Reasoning

Attention

And mobility.

Examples: Abixa, Memox, Axura and Namenda.

The history of Alzheimer’s disease is long. It has provided us not with a cure ,but rather with medications. As well as techniques that are useful in treating the symptoms that it causes. The medical community and families of patients are hopeful that more information will soon come to light… that will help doctors and scientists … find a way to make eradicating this disease for future generations a possibility.

There are alternative treatments.. that improve cognitive function such as aromatherapy or practicing mindfulness.

Sources

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159442.php

http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet

http://www.ahaf.org/alzheimers/about/understanding/history.html