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Alzheimer's Disease: a Progressive Brain Disorder

  • Date Submitted: 06/20/2011 05:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 34.5 
  • Words: 2239
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I. INTRODUCTION

Alzheimer’s Disease, progressive brain disorder that causes a gradual and irreversible decline in memory, language skills, perception of time and space, and, eventually, the ability to care for oneself. First described by German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer in 1906, Alzheimer’s disease was initially thought to be a rare condition affecting only young people, and was referred to as presenile dementia. Today late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is recognized as the most common cause of the loss of mental function in those aged 65 and over. Alzheimer’s in people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, called early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, occurs much less frequently, accounting for about 10 percent of the estimated 5 million Alzheimer’s cases in the United States.

Although Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process, the risk of developing the disease increases as people grow older. About 13 percent of the United States population over the age of 65 is affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and about 42 percent of those over age 85 are believed to have the disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the incidence of the disease increased dramatically from 2002 to 2007, rising by 10 percent. With an aging population the number of cases is expected to more than triple by 2050 unless a cure can be found.

Alzheimer’s disease takes a devastating toll, not only on the patients, but also on those who love and care for them. Some patients experience immense fear and frustration as they struggle with once commonplace tasks and slowly lose their independence. Family, friends, and especially those who provide daily care suffer immeasurable pain and stress as they witness Alzheimer’s disease slowly take their loved one from them.

  II. SYMPTOMS

A physician administers a test of memory and cognitive abilities to an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder. In this excerpt from the test, the woman demonstrates...

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