Alzheimer’s Disease


Giuliana Carmosino

Alzheimer’s disease leaves individuals with a missing piece to the puzzle that is their brain


Alzheimer’s disease is an extreme disease that affects over 6 million Americans of all ages around the world. It is the most common form of Dementia, and women are about two times more likely to get it than men are. It is classified as a neurocognitive category of diagnostics. It begins with mild memory loss, and can potentially grow to loss of the ability to proper speech and respond to the environment. Alzheimer’s disease affects primarily the frontal lobe of the brain as it attacks things such as thought, language, and memory. Let’s take a deeper look at how this disease is caused and how you can combat it. 


The Basics

This disease begins to destroy neurons and connections that are held in the brain in parts that deal with memory such as the hippocampus. As the neurons in the brain get damaged and eventually die off, the connections within the networks in the brain begin to  break down and it can cause shrinkage of the brain. This is a process called brain atrophy, which leads to significant loss of brain volume. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease can be increased due to prior conditions that can damage the heart and blood vessels, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. Therefore if you have experienced any of the following, you may be more prone to obtaining Alzheimer’s in your lifetime. Alzheimer’s is thought to be caused by the abnormal buildup of proteins in and around brain cells. ​​One of the proteins is amyloid, deposits of amyloid form plaques around brain cells. The other protein is tau, deposits of tau form tangles within brain cells. 

The Change in Life

The symptoms that are shown with this disease tend to vary from person to person, and it can affect every individual differently. Memory problems are the first sign that an individual may have Alzheimer’s. An individual may also have a decline in non-memory aspects of cognition. Meaning that finding the right word can be tricky, as well as understanding images. It can also cause impaired reasoning or judgment. As the disease progresses so do the symptoms, they become more severe, including increases in confusion and behavioral changes. People living with Alzheimer’s have difficulty communicating and verbalizing situations on a daily basis. They often struggle with finding appropriate words and they can easily forget what they want to do or what they want to say. You can help a person with Alzheimer’s by doing a handful of things, such as…

  • Keeping things simple
  • Having a daily routine in place
  • Reassuring the person that he/she is safe
  • Focussing on his/her feelings rather than their words
  • Not arguing or trying to reason with the person if they begin to forget information
  • Try not to show frustration with the person if they begin to forget information
  • Reassure the person that you are there to help him/her through this journey


The Cure

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, however, this does not stop doctors from trying to prescribe medications that can be beneficial to individuals that show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors often use medications that are used to target the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s, which are called disease-modifying drugs or therapies. Aducanumab is the only disease-modifying medication currently approved to treat Alzheimer’s. This is an antibody/immunotherapy that targets the protein beta-amyloid and helps to reduce amyloid plaques which are lesions in the brain that are associated with alzheimer’s. There have been clinical studies to determine how effective this drug is because it was only used on people in the early-mild stage of cognitive impairment. Researchers still continue to study whether the medication works to affect a person’s rate of cognitive decline over time.

Alzheimer’s is a very challenging disease that takes over the whole mind and body and can potentially lead to massive changes in a person’s behaviors. This is a disease that varies from person to person, where symptoms can change from simple to severe very quickly. This disease can affect individuals of all different ages and can cause much chaos for any and all affected