Remembering Dr. Alois Alzheimer

 

On September 21st, world remembered the Alzheimer’s patients. But many still don’t know how this name came and how dreaded this disease is.

Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal degenerative disease involving the brain cells. The disease is named after the German physician Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in the year 1906, in the patient Auguste. D. Alzheimer’s disease destroys the brain cells, causing problems with memory, reasoning, thinking etc. The disease gets worse over time leading to death.

The symptom of Alzheimer’s disease varies with patients. Usually the symptoms are mistaken as being age related. The most common early symptom is the memory loss. It’s a progressive disease involving many stages. When the disease progresses the patients need assistance for common tasks like bathing, dressing, using toilet, choosing things etc. At severe stages of Alzheimer’s patient finds it difficulty in verbal communication, ability to walk, smile etc. They may also develop seizures, hypertoniticity.

The reasons for Alzheimer’s disease are not well-known. But the two main reasons for the disease are the amyloid plaques and the neurofibrillar tangles in the brain. These damage the nerve cells.

The early stages of Alzheimer’s disease are difficult to diagnose. Diagnosis includes advanced medical imaging techniques like computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET) etc. In addition, memory testings are done. Neuropsycological screening tests also help in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, where patients are given screening tests to evaluate the cognitive impairement.

  There are no known cures for Alzheimer’s disease. Current treatment involves the use of drugs such as donepezil, tacrine, rivastigmine, galanlamine etc which act as choline esterase inhibitors. Other drugs involve non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) etc. Nevertheless, the most important treatment needed is the care.

 Alzheimer’s disease not only affects the patient alone but it affects the whole family. Therefore, the total number of people suffering from the disease will be more. Remember that disease is not the mistake of the patient or his / her family. They should be taken care by the family and the society.