September 9, 2018

Alzheimer's: the mind is a terrible thing to lose . . .

. . . sounds like a punchline from a stand-up comic routine but it's not funny nor routine. Writing about a 12 year-lesson in the progression of the disease might remove hope these entries will be funny, however, there will be humorous sides to it at times.       

So, it begins: 

Part 1.

Alzheimer’s disease was first described in 1907 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologis. The disease would be named after him by a colleague of his, Emil Kraepelin.   

In Alzheimer's disease, changes in tau protein lead to the disintegration of microtubules in brain cells.
Enzymes act on the APP (amyloid precursor protein) and cut it into fragments. The beta-amyloid fragment is crucial in the formation of senile plaques in AD.   
There is marked cortical atrophy in Alzheimer's Disease, associated with loss of gyri and sulci in the temporal lobe and parietal lobe, and parts of the frontal cortex and cingulate gyrus.         

Alzheimer's disease is usually diagnosed based on the person's medical history, history from relatives, and behavioural observations. The presence of characteristic neurological and neuropsychological features and the absence of alternative conditions is supportive.

Advanced medical imaging with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and with single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) or positron emission tomography (PET) can be used to help exclude other cerebral pathology or subtypes of dementia.    

Moreover, it may predict conversion from prodromal stages (mild cognitive impairment) to Alzheimer's disease.    

Assessment of intellectual functioning including memory testing can further characterise the state of the disease. Medical organisations have created diagnostic criteria to ease and standardise the diagnostic process for practising physicians. The diagnosis can be confirmed with very high accuracy post-mortem (GREAT!) when brain material is available and can be examined histologically (a pleasant thought).    

Researching this far has exhausted me, so, I assume your reading about it has as well; thus, I will stop here for now.   

There, it's out.
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Alzheimer's articles/mentions        
Styrous®, Sunday, September 9, 2018  

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