Alzheimer's Disease

Common Name(s)

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive condition of the brain that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is the most common form of dementia, a term that refers to any condition that worsens mental functioning over time. Alzheimer's disease is most common in individuals 65 years and older, but cases of early onset have been documented in individuals in their 40s and 50s.

Alzheimer's is caused by two abnormal protein structures ("plaques" which are protein deposits and "tangles" which are twisted protein fibers) found in the brain tissue along with the loss of connection between neurons (nerve cells in the brains). These abnormalities cause the brain cells to lose normal function. It is uncertain what causes these abnormalities to develop but several genes have been identified as risk factors. Environmental factors and behaviors such as alcoholism have been linked to Alzheimer's disease as well.

The first sign of Alzheimer's is an inability to remember newly learned information. As the condition progresses over time, the individual may experience worsening memory loss, changes in mood or behavior and eventually severe confusion (in terms of time, events, or places), disorientation, and unnecessary suspicions about family or others. The individual may progress to the point that he or she cannot take care of him or herself, eat or swallow, speak, or walk. A diagnosis for Alzheimer’s is not definitive but is based upon a combination of looking at someone's family history, a physical exam, and other tests. Plaques and tangles are not seen on MRI or other brain scans. Genetic testing may also be helpful in some familial cases.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, but drug treatments are available to slow the progression, manage the symptoms, and improve quality of life. If you or someone you know is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, contact your doctor to discuss the most current treatment options.

Source: Advocacy organizations associated with the condition.

 

Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Alzheimer's Disease" for support, advocacy or research.

Alzheimer's Association

The mission of the Alzheimer's Association is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Last Updated: 7 Jul 2015

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Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

The Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center was established by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to provide information to health professionals, patients and their families and the public about Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders.

Last Updated: 30 Oct 2014

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Alzheimer's Foundation of America

To provide optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families--through member organizations dedicated to improving quality of life.

Last Updated: 9 Apr 2014

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HealthyWomen

HealthyWomen (HW) is the nation's leading independent health information source for women. Our core mission is to educate, inform and empower women to make smart health choices for themselves and their families. For more than 20 years, millions of women have been coming to HW for answers to their most pressing and personal health care questions. Through our wide array of online and print publications, HW provides health information that is original, objective, reviewed by medical experts and reflective of the advances in evidence-based health research.

Last Updated: 9 Jul 2015

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National Endowment for Alzheimer's Research

At NEAR, our mission is to investigate the underlying causes of Alzheimer's and to develop rapid clinical interventions both for Alzheimer's and other brain disorders. A secondary mission is to promote public awareness and education with respect to Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, and to encourage the involvement of individuals, businesses, foundations, and government in finding a cure.

Last Updated: 20 Dec 2012

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General Support Organizations

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How do you compare to others with this condition?

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Alzheimer's Disease" for support, advocacy or research.

Alzheimer's Association

The mission of the Alzheimer's Association is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

http://www.alz.org

Last Updated: 7 Jul 2015

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Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

The Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center was established by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to provide information to health professionals, patients and their families and the public about Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders.

http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers

Last Updated: 30 Oct 2014

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Alzheimer's Foundation of America

To provide optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families--through member organizations dedicated to improving quality of life.

http://www.alzfdn.org

Last Updated: 9 Apr 2014

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HealthyWomen

HealthyWomen (HW) is the nation's leading independent health information source for women. Our core mission is to educate, inform and empower women to make smart health choices for themselves and their families. For more than 20 years, millions of women have been coming to HW for answers to their most pressing and personal health care questions. Through our wide array of online and print publications, HW provides health information that is original, objective, reviewed by medical experts and reflective of the advances in evidence-based health research.

http://www.healthywomen.org

Last Updated: 9 Jul 2015

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National Endowment for Alzheimer's Research

At NEAR, our mission is to investigate the underlying causes of Alzheimer's and to develop rapid clinical interventions both for Alzheimer's and other brain disorders. A secondary mission is to promote public awareness and education with respect to Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, and to encourage the involvement of individuals, businesses, foundations, and government in finding a cure.

http://www.memorymatters.org

Last Updated: 20 Dec 2012

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General Support Organizations

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General Resources

Alzheimer's Association Helpline

The Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline provides reliable information and support to all those who need assistance. Call us toll-free anytime day or night at 800.272.3900. Our 24/7 Helpline serves people with memory loss, caregivers, health care professionals and the public.

Updated 15 Oct 2012

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Alzheimer's Disease" returned 4730 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Computerized touch-panel screening tests for detecting mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.
 

Author(s): Yusuke Fukui, Toru Yamashita, Nozomi Hishikawa, Tomoko Kurata, Kota Sato, Yoshio Omote, Syoichiro Kono, Taijun Yunoki, Yuko Kawahara, Noriko Hatanaka, Ryo Tokuchi, Kentaro Deguchi, Koji Abe

Journal: Intern. Med.. 2015 ;54(8):895-902.

 

The increasing population of elderly people in Japan has accelerated the demand for a simple screening test to detect cognitive and affective declines in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and the early stage of dementia. Methods We compared the cognitive and affective functions, activities ...

Last Updated: 16 Apr 2015

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Edaravone alleviates Alzheimer's disease-type pathologies and cognitive deficits.
 

Author(s): Shu-Sheng Jiao, Xiu-Qing Yao, Yu-Hui Liu, Qing-Hua Wang, Fan Zeng, Jian-Jun Lu, Jia Liu, Chi Zhu, Lin-Lin Shen, Cheng-Hui Liu, Ye-Ran Wang, Gui-Hua Zeng, Ankit Parikh, Jia Chen, Chun-Rong Liang, Yang Xiang, Xian-Le Bu, Juan Deng, Jing Li, Juan Xu, Yue-Qin Zeng, Xiang Xu, Hai-Wei Xu, Jin-Hua Zhong, Hua-Dong Zhou, Xin-Fu Zhou, Yan-Jiang Wang

Journal: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 2015 Apr;112(16):5225-30.

 

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of most devastating diseases affecting elderly people. Amyloid-β (Aβ) accumulation and the downstream pathological events such as oxidative stress play critical roles in pathogenesis of AD. Lessons from failures of current clinical trials suggest ...

Last Updated: 22 Apr 2015

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Effective communication strategies to help patients and caregivers cope with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's disease.
 

Author(s): Jan Dougherty

Journal: J Clin Psychiatry. 2015 Mar;76(3):e9.

 

As the number of people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) increases, clinicians must learn to educate patients and their caregivers about the communication problems associated with different stages of illness. Patients with AD will experience varying degrees of language impairments, concentration ...

Last Updated: 2 Apr 2015

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Alzheimer's Disease" returned 1190 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Neurotransmitter measures in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer's disease: a review.
 

Author(s): Dubravka Svob Strac, Dorotea Muck-Seler, Nela Pivac

Journal: Psychiatr Danub. 2015 Mar;27(1):14-24.

 

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a severe neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cognitive and functional decline, as well as by a variety of neuropsychiatric and psychological symptoms and behavioral dysfunctions. Various studies proposed the role of different neurotransmitter ...

Last Updated: 10 Mar 2015

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Preventing Alzheimer's disease by means of natural selection.
 

Author(s): Lloyd A Demetrius, Jane A Driver

Journal: J R Soc Interface. 2015 Jan;12(102):20140919.

 

The amyloid cascade model for the origin of sporadic forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) posits that the imbalance in the production and clearance of beta-amyloid is a necessary condition for the disease. A competing theory called the entropic selection hypothesis asserts that the primary ...

Last Updated: 30 Dec 2014

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The evolution of preclinical Alzheimer's disease: implications for prevention trials.
 

Author(s): Reisa Sperling, Elizabeth Mormino, Keith Johnson

Journal: Neuron. 2014 Nov;84(3):608-22.

 

As the field begins to test the concept of a "preclinical" stage of neurodegenerative disease, when the pathophysiological process has begun in the brain, but clinical symptoms are not yet manifest, a number of intriguing questions have already arisen. In particular, in preclinical ...

Last Updated: 2 Dec 2014

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Study
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Alzheimer Disease; Late Onset Alzheimer Disease; Dementia

 

Last Updated: 24 Mar 2015

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Sleep Apnea in Early to Mid-Stage Alzheimer's Disease
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Early Onset Alzheimer Disease; Alzheimer Disease; Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndromes

 

Last Updated: 29 Jul 2015

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