Alzheimer's Disease Essay

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Nutrition Alzheimer's Disease What is Alzheimer's disease? It is a state of severe mental deterioration marked by impaired memory and intellect, as well as by altered personality and behavior. It is a common cause of dementia in the older person and affects men and women in equal numbers. The change in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease includes the presence of plaque in the brain. These changes were first discovered in 1907 by the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer. Hence the disorder was named after him. According to American Psychiatric Association, 1997, it afflicts about 5 to 8% of those age 65, 15 to 20% of those over 75 and 25 to 50% of those over 85. Senility is caused by physical deterioration of the brain. It can result from such conditions as cerebral arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries in the brain), chronic alcoholism, and irreversible damage by a series of small strokes. About 50 to 60% of all cases of senility result from Alzheimer's disease. In Alzheimer's disease, there is progressive deterioration of intellectual and personality that results from wide spread degeneration of brain cells. According to Khachaturian in 1997, about 4 million people in the United States suffer from this incurable disorder. At present the cause is unknown but several factors are believed to be involved in the development of the disorder, but have not yet been proven. These factors include: (1) The neurochemical factors, which include lack of substance, used by the nerve impulses (neurotransmitters) including acetylcholine, somatostatin, substance P and norepinephorine; (2) Environmental factors, which include exposure to aluminum manganese and other substances; (3) Infectious factors include prion (virus-like organisms) infections that affect the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system); (4) Heredity factor is a major factor in

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