Elements Impacting the Pathogenesis and Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease that causes dementia in the elderly. It is characterized by the gradual deterioration of memory and other cognitive functions, which eventually leads to a complete incapacity and death of the patients within 3 to 9 years after diagnosis. The major pathological characteristics of AD brains are the presence of senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal loss. Senile plaques are mainly composed of beta-amyloid peptide that is produced by proteolytic cleavage of the transmembrane Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). Plaques and tangles tend to spread through the cortex in a predictable pattern as Alzheimer's disease progresses. Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of the brain where abnormal proteins collect in brain cells. Alzheimer’s disease causes symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, difficulty performing daily activities, and changes in judgment, reasoning, behavior, and emotions. These dementia symptoms are irreversible, which means that any loss of abilities cannot come back. When the person nears death, comfort measures become the focus. As in the care of any person living with a terminal illness, physical as well as emotional and spiritual needs must be carefully considered. Attention to providing supportive care focuses on quality of life and comfort.

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