Alzheimer’s


Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease, considered one of the most common types of dementia, affecting 5.4 million of the total inhabitants of the planet. It is estimated that half of the total cases of dementia are Alzheimer’s. It mostly affects people over 65 years of age, especially the female sex. The first case analyzed was in the hands of Alois Alzheimer, in charge of finding the neuropathology of the disease, and Emil Kraepelin, whose mission was to find the symptoms and define the disease as such; It all started in 1901 and the patient of both psychiatrists was Auguste Deter.

The disease develops slowly, the first symptoms are confused with the stress and old age of the patients. Some tests may reveal minor cognitive difficulties that may be very mild signs that the disease may be progressing. The most prominent symptom may be the handicap of not being able to remember recently learned facts and not being able to acquire new information. However, there is some debate as to whether this is actually the first phase of the disease or is simply an independent diagnosis.

Initial dementia (the first phase of the disease) is characterized by very pronounced memory loss, causing the person to become disoriented or not remember where they are, preventing them from relating to family or friends. The vocabulary suffers reductions and the fluency of speech is lost. During moderate dementia, patients can perform certain activities such as going to the bathroom, but will need an assistant to perform more complex tasks such as paying bills; they may also have momentary outbursts of anger. The last phase, called advanced dementia, is distinguished by the fact that the patient has lost the ability to do the simplest tasks, due to the deterioration of the muscles, becoming totally dependent on his helper.

For the diagnosis of the disease, the doctor must have an interview with the patient, analyzing whether the patient has the cognitive characteristics that Alzheimer’s reveals; the minimental exam is one of the most effective, and consists of 30 questions, grouped into three sections; In them, concentration, memory capacity, orientation and language capacity can be evaluated in general terms.

There are 4 types of viable treatments, pharmacological, non-pharmacological, psychosocial intervention, treatments that are in the research phase, such as vaccines, brain pacemakers, ultrasound and stem cells.