(12 pages, guidelines begin on page 6)
Prepared by the Alzheimer’s Association Work Group on Screening for Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease
This paper in the June 21, 2001, issue of Alzheimer Insights, a peer-reviewed online journal, presents the recommendations of independent experts and Alzheimer’s Association senior science and public policy staff on issues and challenges related to community screening for dementia. The guidelines outline 21 questions that must be considered in the design of a community screening program. If many of these questions pose problems, the sponsoring group may wish to consider launching a community education initiative in place of a screening program.
The history of the research on Alzheimer’s disease is quite old, because the ancient philosophers stated that the human can be called an elderly one, when the reduction of the work of her thinking abilities is noticed. Though, the actual research on the case of the problem was conducted by Alois Alzheimer, who described the disease in 1906.
In fact, challenging behaviors of patients with Alzheimer’s disease are provoked by psychological problems such as growing anxiety, hallucinations, etc. At the same time, the physiological changes also produce a profound impact on the inner state of patients. This is why it is necessary to take these factors into consideration, while working out effective strategies of the prevention of negative effects of challenging behaviors of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists believe Alzheimer's disease prevents parts of a cell's factory from running well. They are not sure where the trouble starts. But just like a real factory, backups and breakdowns in one system cause problems in other areas. As damage spreads, cells lose their ability to do their jobs and, eventually die, causing irreversible changes in the brain.
One such diagnostic tool recently received a patent. According to the inventor of the tPST, H. Paul Voorheis, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry at Trinity College, his new blood test can make a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease simply, and without risk or discomfort to the patient. The tPST detects tau- peptide fragments, which are released into the blood by degenerating neurons in Alzheimer's disease sufferers. Dr. Voorheis has been able to detect tau-peptide in early Alzheimer's disease and believes that the tPST is as sensitive to the early stages of Alzheimer's disease as to later stages. In addition, Dr. Voorheis noted that because very little tau-peptide is found in normal blood, he believes that the tPST will prove to be both a sensitive and highly specific test for Alzheimer's disease and that, when the tPST is fully developed and routinely available, it will provide a safe and cost-effective diagnosis of the disorder . This test would go a long way toward the accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and provide a concrete way of pinpointing who has this disease.
Prasher, V. P., Barber, P. C., West, R., & Glenholmes, P. (2000). The role of magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease in adults with Down Syndrome. Archives of Neurology, 53, 1310-1313.
Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative brain disease, is the most common cause of dementia. It currently afflicts about 4 million Americans and is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Furthermore, Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of mental impairment in elderly people and accounts for a large percentage of admissions to assisted living homes, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities. Psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, have been reported in a large proportion of patients with this disease. In fact, it is the presence of these psychotic symptoms can lead to early institutionalization (Bassiony, et all, 2000).
Woods, D. C., Patterson, M. B., & Whitehouse, P. J. (2000). Utility of the Judgment Questionnaire subtest of the Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination in the evaluation of individuals with Alzheimer's disease. Clinical Gerontologist, 21, 49-66.
Learning about Alzheimer's disease and realizing that it is much more that just a loss of memory can benefit the families of those with the disorder as well as society as a whole. The purpose of this paper is to look at the disorder, as well as to discuss the history, symptoms, diagnosis and hopes of a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
Today, as research on Alzheimer's disease progresses, scientists are describing other abnormal anatomical and chemical changes associated with the disease. These include nerve cell degeneration in the brain's nucleus and reduced levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brains of Alzheimer's disease victims (Alzheimer's Disease). However, from a practical standpoint, conducting an autopsy of an individual to make a definitive diagnosis is rather ineffective. Newer diagnostic techniques will be discussed in a later section of this paper.
The progression of Alzheimer's disease is classified into three phases: forgetfulness, confusional, and dementia. The forgetfulness phase is the first stage and is characterized by a loss of short-term memory. Patients in this phase will often have trouble remembering names of well-known people and will misplace items on a regular basis. This stage also may include behavioral changes. Additionally, a loss of spontaneity and social withdrawal often occurs as the individual begins to become aware that there is something inherently wrong. Speech problems and difficulty with comprehension may also appear. Cleary, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish an Alzheimer's patient from normal everyday people or people with other disorders.
As of yet, there are no known causes that can be concretely linked to Alzheimer's disease. To further complicate matters, there are a number of diseases that have symptoms in common with the dementia associated with Alzheimer's. Understanding the different types of dementia-related illnesses is important when trying to diagnose a patient with these kinds of symptoms. Doctors separate the dementia illnesses into three groups: primary undifferentiated dementia, primary differentiated dementia and secondary dementia.
Primary undifferentiated dementia diseases produce the dementia by direct effects on the brain, such as those seen in Alzheimer's. They resemble each other quite closely and often cannot be distinguished from one another through ordinary diagnostic means. The primary differentiated dementia diseases often include losses of muscular control and thus they can be separated from the previous group. Most of these diseases are rare. The secondary dementia diseases are not due to a permanent impairment of the brain and can often be cured, so accurate diagnosis is critical. Therefore, one can see how the three types can cause diagnosis problems for people in the medical field (Heston and White 1983).