The Brain and Alzheimer`s Disease

Lifespan Development
Alzheimer’s Disease
Nina Deese
• Psychology Club is visiting HOPE LODGE
-Meet in front of Addlestone Library
at 6:00pm
-We will be playing bingo with the
1.What is Dementia? What is Alzheimer’s
2.Statistics for the U.S.
3.Stages of AD
4.The Brain and Alzheimer’s
6.Risk/Protective Factors
7.Other forms of dementia… How are they
different from Alzheimer’s?
Development of Dementia
The pathological loss of brain function is known
as dementia—literally “out of mind”, referring
to severely impaired judgment
1. irreversible loss of intellectual
functioning caused by organic brain
damage or disease
2. becomes more common with age, but it is
abnormal and pathological even in the very
Alzheimer’s Disease
• First described by German psychiatrist
-Alois Alzheimer (1906)
• Generally diagnosed in people over 65 years
of age
-Early-onset (before 65); only 5-10% of patients
-Several genetic causes
• 4.5+ million Americans suffer from it
-5% of 65-74 years of age
-Nearly 50% of 85+
• 1 in 6 women over 55; 1 in 10 men over 55
Symptoms of pre-dementia
• Early symptoms similar to age-related or
stress-induced memory loss
Difficulty remembering recently learned
• Subtle cognitive difficulties
Executive function of attentiveness
Planning, flexibility
Abstract thinking
• Impairment in semantic memory
New memory formation
• Mild confusion/Apathy
• As early as 5-10 years (some say 20 years)
before official diagnosis
Mild Alzheimer’s Disease
• Memory loss for recent events
hard time remembering newly learned information
• Difficulty with problem solving, complex tasks and
sound judgments
tasks such as planning a family event or balancing a
checkbook become overwhelming, often experience
lapses in judgment
• Changes in personality
may become withdrawn, irritable, or angry when
unexpected, decreased attention span
• Difficulty organizing and expressing thoughts
• Getting lost or misplacing belongings
common to lose or misplace things, trouble finding
way around
Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease
• Showing increasingly poor judgment and deepening
lose track of where they are, confuse friends and
family members, and often wander
• Experience even greater memory loss
may be unable to recall addresses, phone numbers,
• Need help with some daily activities
• Undergo significant changes in personality and
not uncommon to develop unfounded suspicions,
hear or see things, grow restless and agitated, may
bite, kick, scream, etc.
Severe Alzheimer’s Disease
• Lose the ability to communicate coherently
• Require daily assistance with personal care
total assistance with dressing, eating, etc.
• Experience a decline in physical abilities
unable to walk, get up, or hold up one’s head
The Brain and Alzheimer’s Disease
Two major structural changes:
1. Neurofibrillary tangles
 Bundles of twisted threads that are the product of
collapsed neural structures (contain abnormal forms
of tau protein
2. Amyloid plaques
 Dense deposits of deteriorated amyloid protein,
surrounded by clumps of dead nerve and glial cells
Several competing hypotheses:
Cholinergic hypothesis
-Caused by reduced synthesis of acetylcholine
-Destruction of these neurons causes disruptions in
distant neuronal networks (perception, memory,
Amyloid hypothesis
-Abnormal breakdown; buildup of amyloid beta
-Damaged amyloid proteins build to toxic levels,
causing call damage and death
Tau hypothesis
-Caused by tau protein abnormalities
-Formation of neurofibrillary tangles
Risk Factors
High blood pressure
Head trauma
High cholesterol
Being American!
– Higher rates in
• Japanese-Americans than Japanese
• African-Americans than Africans
• Depression
• Lower rates in highly educated
– Beneficial consequences of learning and
Possible Protective Factors
• Education
The ability of the brain to change suggests to some that
staying mentally active as you age may help to maintain
healthy brain synapses. A 2002 study reported an
association between frequent participation in cognitively
stimulating activities (such as reading, doing crossword
puzzles, visiting museums) and a reduced risk for
• Exercise
Lowers risk of high blood pressure and other risk factors
associated with Alzheimer’s
• Alcohol Consumption
Men who consume one to three drinks of alcohol per day cut
their risk of developing the disease by nearly half. Among
women, however, the risk was reduced by only 4%. The type
of alcohol had no effect on the results. But further study is
needed. In the meantime, experts do not recommend
drinking alcohol to fend off Alzheimer's disease.
Source: Harvard Health Publication
Other forms of Dementia
• Subcortical Dementias
– Forms of dementia that begin with
impairments in motor ability and produce
cognitive impairment in later stages
• Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease,
and Multiple Sclerosis are subcortical
• Reversible Dementia
– dementia caused by medication, inadequate
nutrition, alcohol abuse (Korsakoff’s
Syndrome), depression, or other mental illness
can sometimes be reversed
Self-Quiz: Alzheimer’s Disease
1. Apple was on the list.
1. Home was on the list.
2. Which of these were not on the list?
• Banana
• Pen
• Car
• House
• Tie
What’s Normal
What’s Not
Forgetting your ATM
number or where you
Forgetting what an ATM
card is or what kind of car
you own.
Forgetting what you were
about to say
Forgetting how to do an
everyday task, like writing
a check.
Forgetting which day of
the week you had a dental
Getting lost in your own
Misplacing of losing your
keys or phone
Putting the ice tray in the
oven instead of the freezer
Forgetting the name of the Forgetting who your family
person who sits in front of members are
you in class
Thank you!

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