Small abnormalities, so-called, amyloid plaques and tau tangles, formed in the brain and found in specific locations throughout, are two distinguishing hallmarks of Alzheimer's Disease Dementia. Advanced testing, such as PET scans, MRI, DNA and spinal fluid analysis, can shed invaluable light on the probability of Alzheimer's, but still, at this time, a conclusive diagnosis is only obtained through close examination of brain tissue post-mortem.
Alois Alzheimer was a German psychiatrist who discovered the pathological condition of Dementia and diagnosed the disease that bears his name. Alois was born in Marktbreit, Germany, in 1864, and showed an early aptitude for science.
After obtaining his medical degree, he worked in hospitals in Frankfurt, where he met Auguste Deter, a 51-year-old woman suffering from progressive short-term memory loss. He was eventually able to isolate the pathological causes of severe Dementia, work so extensive that the condition became known as Alzheimer's disease.
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Today, it is believed that "Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of Dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities.
AD begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. A related problem, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), causes more memory problems than normal for people of the same age. Many, but not all, people with MCI will develop AD.
In AD, over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members or have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them.
AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease. No treatment can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited time."
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