Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by abnormal deposits of the protein Amyloid-ß (Amyloid beta).

 

Amyloid-ß induces the loss of ccmmunications between neurons that Alzheimer's disease is known for.

 

Preventing healthy synapses from become dysfunctional delays the onset of the disease.

 

During the progression of Alzheimer's disease on a macro-level. an overall shrinkage of brain tissue causes the grooves or sulci  to become widened while the gyri, the well-developed folds of the outer layer, shrink.  

As this occurs, the chambers of the brain become engorged with cerebrospinal fluid .

In the early stages of the disease, on a cognitive level, short-term memory begins to fade when the area of the brain known as the hippocampus degenerates.

At this point, the brain's ability to perform routine tasks declines.

 

As Alzheimer's disease advances, the cerebral cortex becomes seriously impaired causing frequent emotional outbursts.

As additional nerve cells die, changes in behavior continue lead to excessive wandering and intense agitation.

 

In the final stages of the disease, the ability to recognize faces, communicate and understand the world is lost as is the ability to control bodily functions.

 

Alzheimer's disease lasts from 8 to 10 years, with some unfortunate patients enduring it for up to 20 years. 

Alzheimer's disease involves the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrill tangles.

This degradation of nerve cells causes the symptoms associated with the disease.

 

 

Amyloid Plaques

The signature hallmark of Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of amyloid plaques between nerve cells in the brain.

 

Amyloid are protein fragments the body normally produces. 

Beta amyloid is a protein fragment snipped from an amyloid precursor protein.

 

In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are broken down and eliminated.

In Alzheimer sufferers, the fragments accumulate to form hard, insoluble plaques.

 

Neurofibrillary Tangles

Neurofibrillary tangles are insoluble twisted fibers found inside brain cells.

These tangles consist primarily of a protein called tau.

Tau is part of a structure called a microtubule that transports nutrients and other substances from one part of a nerve cell to another. I

n Alzheimer's disease, the tau protein is abnormal and the microtubule structures can't support themselves and consequently collapse.