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ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Updated: May 14




(By Solomon Mahoi, [Pseudonym, "Abck Obba"])


April 22, 2024


For those who might have never heard of Alzheimer's disease before, you probably might be asking yourself the question, what sort of a Jewish and German derivative of a name is this? And if indeed you did ask yourself this question, then you must start applauding your sharp-mindedness because you were on point, and rightly so, the name Alzheimer's is of Jewish-German origin, and I will explain to you exactly how the name came about to being the name that is used to identify a progressive, degenerative, cognitive disorder that is the Alzheimer's disease. I will also navigate you through the lines of what possibly causes the disease, including its treatment methods. So, let's begin.



How Did The "Alzheimer's" Name Become The Official Name For The Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is named after German psychiatrist and neurologist, Alois Alzheimer, who in 1906 observed strange activities in the brain of a 51 year old patient commonly known as Auguste D, during an autopsy he performed on the patient's brain. In his findings the woman's brain had what he initially called "misshapen clumps of protein," but was later dubbed as "plaques." He also discovered twisted bundles of fibers in the woman's brain, but in the form of entanglement which possibly could have been the result of shrinkage around the nerve cells in the woman's brain.


Doctor Alois Alzheimer died in 1915, but fives year prior to his death, a German psychiatrist colleague of his who worked closely with him that goes by the name Emil Kraepelin, codified Dr. Alois Alzheimer's findings and then influenced the findings into the second volume of the German book called General Psychiatry, marking the first time that Alzheimer's as a form of dementia that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, was described. This was precisely how Alzheimer's disease got its name.



What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder mainly characterized by memory loss or forgetfulness, and this affects a person's thinking skills and eventually interrupts a person's ability to perform the simplest tasks. But the exact cause of the disease is unknown, however, researchers hold that a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors do contribute to the disease's development.


One major genetic factor, in this case, is age-related, which means that as a person ages, from around 65 years and on, cells in the brain become less active, causing a person's brain activity to also slow down. And other factor is environmental, which can be related to how an aging individual is treated at home, including the healthiness of the person's social connections in and outside the home. Lifestyle factors, on the other hand, can be related to excessive alcohol consumption, or perhaps excessive marijuana consumption, which overtime takes its toll on the individual's brain activities thereby causing the individual to experience frequent forgetfulness or memory loss, perhaps of where items were placed, including one's location or what was said a few seconds ago.



Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease and How the Disease is Diagnosed:

A major symptom of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss or forgetfulness, especially of recent events. Other symptoms include confusion and disorientation, difficulty with language and communication, impaired judgment and decision-making skills, changes in mood and behaviours, as well as trouble with daily tasks and activities.


To diagnose someone as an Alzheimer's patient, a comprehensive assessment of the person's medical history, cognitive function, as well as neurological exams, needs to be done on the person first, before ever a diagnosis is placed. Imaging tests such as MRI and PET scans do help to detect changes in the brain that are Alzheimer's associated, while cognitive tests assess memory, language, as well as problem-solving abilities.



What Are Some Of The Treatment Options for Alzheimer's Disease?

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but there are several treatment options that can aid in managing symptoms as well as in improving patients' quality of life. And they include the following:


Medications: Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine are believed to help in the improvement of cognitive function to the point of alleviating symptoms in some patients.


Lifestyle Changes: Frequent exercise, a balanced diet, and social engagement can be helpful to the Alzheimer's patient, including engaging in mentally stimulating activities; all of which are believed to slow down the progression of the disease and thereby improve overall well-being.


Supportive Therapies: Occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other supportive interventions do help patients in maintaining independence and cope with daily challenges.


Clinical Trials: Because the disease is complex, researchers therefore continues to explore new avenues of treatment and intervention through clinical trials, in hopes of discovering future breakthroughs in Alzheimer's treatment and prevention.



Summary

The Alzheimer's name serving as the official name for the disease was acquired from German psychiatrist and neurologist, Alois Alzheimer, whose autopsy performed on the brain of a deceased patient by the name of Auguste D, paved the way in identifying symptoms of the disease.


Major symptoms of the disease are memory loss and forgetfulness, and they are as a result of genetic factors, environmental factors, as well as lifestyle factors, but mainly of accumulated (or abnormal) protein deposits in the brain that disrupts neuronal communication and ultimately leading to cell death.


Currently there is no cure for the disease, but there are treatment options that can help patients improve memory loss and forgetfulness, and one of these treatment options are medications that contain Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine, another is to engage in frequent exercise activities along with consuming balanced diets, in addition to social engagement as well as supportive therapies and clinical trials.



Conclusion

Alzheimer's disease is aging-related, and make no doubt about it for that's the bottom line. And this is because as a person reaches age 65 or older, a person's mental functioning begins to dwindle only for the dwindling to progress. And while current treatments options may help manage symptoms, ongoing research is needed to develop more effective therapies and ultimately find a cure. But in the meantime raising awareness remained an essential strategy in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, in addition to supporting caregivers as well as promoting brain health.
















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