I was told that she was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition very often found in people above 60. This is a neurological disorder leading to dementia, and most commonly described as loss of mental abilities such as memory and reasoning. With its progressive nature, it manifests as slight memory and language problems in the beginning and further leading to confusion, personality and behavioral changes. Thus, this disease manifests in the form of cognitive and behavioral symptoms.
The most common clinical findings in this disease include loss of recent memory, problems in calculation and execution of activities. These difficulties eventually progress to dementia in a span of eight to nine years. Motor functions may get impaired in the terminal stages of the disease causing inability to walk or move. The pathological precursors of this disease begin several decades before the clinical symptoms are manifested. The most important characteristic features of this disease, as described by Alois Alzheimer in 1907, are neuronal loss, profuse extracellular deposition of amyloid B peptide (AB), and widespread formation of intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles, usually found in the higher order cortical regions including frontal, parietal, and temporal cortex and the limbic system, and are relatively rare in primary motor or sensory areas except for olfaction. For this reason, Alzheimers disease is looked at more like a cognitive disorder than motor one (Rogers, J.; 2001). However, the reasons for neurodegeneration are still unknown.
Alzheimers disease, like most other chronic diseases, is likely to be caused by a complex interaction of genetic and environmental risk factors. A few definite risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease, identified by Kuhn and Bennett (2003), are advanced age, family history in firs-degree blood relation, genetics, Down’s syndrome, history of head trauma, and low