Alzheimer’s treatment to Alzheimer’s disease that can stop

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) characteristics were first portrayed by a German physician named Alois Alzheimer in 1907 in the neuropathological study of a 51-year old woman’s brain (Verdile et al., 2004). Likewise, she died after a short illness but suffered some symptoms such as aphasia, apraxia, memory impairments, disorientation and dementia (2004). Thus, scientists were able to find neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques in her atrophied brain (Verdile et al., 2004). Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia which is a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities (Alzheimer Association, 2011). It is account for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases (Alzheimer Association, 2011). Dementia is caused due to damage of brain cells therefore, interfering its ability to communicate with each other that affect individual’s behavior, feelings and thinking (Sano & Mayeux, 1999).  Each individual has different outcome when it comes to Alzheimer’s however, the first symptom begins with gradually difficulty in remembering new information (Alzheimer Association, 2011). As mentioned in Alzheimer Association report, this is due to brain cell interruption that usually begins in part of the brain that involved in forming new memories (2011). As it progresses, individual will experience other difficulties such as having a hard time completing familiar tasks at home, forgetting things and losing the ability to retrace steps (Alzheimer Association, 2011). In the final stage of the disease, patient will not be able to communicate, recognize people and become bed ridden making them more vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia (2011). Furthermore, individual will need to meet some certain criteria given in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) when being diagnose by a physician in order to be consider as a patient with dementia (Alzheimer Association, 2011). Also, if an individual may experience one or more of the 10 warning signs and symptoms listed on Alzheimer Association website it is best to consult a physician immediately (Alz, 1980). Likewise, the physician will look through medical history and conduct cognitive tests, physical and neurologic examinations when diagnosing a patient with Alzheimer (Alzheimer Association. 2011). By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans doctors are able to detect any changes in the brain that have occurred so they can rule out other potential causes (2011).  So far there is no treatment to Alzheimer’s disease that can stop the deterioration of brain cells. However, there are some medications that is approved by the FDA to temporarily slow down the symptoms to about 6 to 12 months (Sano & Mayeux, 1999). Which includes cholinesterase inhibitors to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms in the early to moderate stages and they are called Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne (Herrmann & Gauthier, 2008). Furthermore, physician prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors to target symptoms relating to memory, cognitive, communication and other thought processes (2008). While medication like memantine (Namenda) is used to improve memory, attention, reasoning and the ability to perform simple tasks of Alzheimer’s disease (Herrmann & Gauthier, 2008). Also, a medication that combines one of the cholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil or aricept) with memantine called, Namzaric can be used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s (2008). Moreover, researchers believe that it is most effective when administered the medication in the early stage of the disease in order to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s (Sano & Mayeux, 1999). Some of the nonpharmacologic approaches toward an Alzheimer patient to help treat depression such as music therapy that can alleviate agitation and apathy (Herrmann & Gauthier, 2008). A controlled multisensory stimulation called, Snoezelen, can help with apathy while psychomotor therapy might alleviate agitation (Herrmann & Gauthier, 2008). Also, education, support programs and counselling are effective as well. Additionally, only some of the nonpharmacologic treatments have demonstrated lasting benefits such as behavioral management and education programs whereas music therapy seemed to be effective only during treatment sessions (Herrmann & Gauthier, 2008).  

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