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Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a progressive degenerative disease of unknown aetiology, as first described by Alois Alzheimer (19

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  • Essay length: 3274 words
  • Submitted: 24/11/2005
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AS and A Level Healthcare

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Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a progressive degenerative disease of unknown aetiology, as first described by Alois Alzheimer (1907). According to Shoenberg et. al (1987), it is the commonest cause of dementia in the elderly with an incidence ranging from 2.5 to 5 per thousand. Furthermore, this incidence has grown in recent years as a result people generally living longer. The disease is incurable at present but there are drug treatments that delay the symptoms in the early stages. Therefore, there is a real need for early identification of the disease, so that a treatment program can be administered.

In the later stages of AD, there are typical neurological signs of the disease. These are plaques and tangles in the hippocampal region of the brain. However, it may be a while into the disease before these can be detected by diagnostic tools such as CT, MRI and fMRI. In addition, reliance on these tools can lead to a false diagnosis of AD, where some form of vascular dementia is actually the cause. In fact, according to Brazzelli et al. (1994), there is no unequivocal instrumental test to establish the presence of the disease. Therefore, it is also common

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