The information found under this tab reflects current updates and research about Alzheimer’s. The material has been consolidated to focus on important facts using simple language. This makes it easier to understand and emphasizes the urgency of finding a cure.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Definitions for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) vary from simple to clinical. The Alzheimer’s Association says:
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Why is it called Alzheimer’s?
The disease is named for Dr. Aloysius Alzheimer, or Alois for short. He was a neurologist practicing in Germany beginning in the 1890s. In 1901 he observed severe senile dementia behavior from a 51, year old female patient. Since the observations of her case, the terms plaques and tangles have been part of AD research for over 100 years.
Today, advances in MRI and PET scan imaging technology enables a more accurate diagnosis of specific dementias. This is important, so the most beneficial treatment can be planned.
Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is different than treatment for Parkinson’s. Both produce memory issues but for different reasons. With a more effective diagnosis’s a more effective treatment can begin. The two diseases don’t necessarily use the same medications.
Presently, FDA approved drugs most commonly prescribed for early stage Alzheimer’s are Aricept, Exelon and Razadyne, all cholinesterase inhibitors and Namenda, a memantine.
Their scientific make up is too involved to describe here. Simply said, they slow down the progression of memory loss and confusion in the early stages of AD. They are not a cure.
When administered after an AD diagnosis, in the early stages of the disease, symptoms can be slowed. Why is this important? As the progression of AD is reduced, it allows the patient and family time.
Time to accomplish several things. Depending on age, to continue to work. To build new relationships with family, support groups and doctors. To review financial and legal concerns and to participate in research trials. Also, to become an advocate for AD research and care partner education.
This site and blog will present current information, encourage others to share ideas ‘that work’, help address problems and provide the latest updates in a simple and relatable language.