Alzheimer's Disease: causes and treatment, essence, initial symptoms, development, photos of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is a disease that causes the death of brain cells. It is accompanied by severe mental and functional disorders. One of the diseases of the central nervous system, the mechanisms of occurrence of which have not yet been studied to the end.

Diagnostic methods

The main tool for research on the development of dementia is neuroimaging. To do this, use CT, MRI, PET of the brain. The doctor examines the degree of damage to individual lobes, and also assesses possible causes and concomitant diseases.


The use of the EEG procedure allows observing the activity of the brain and the degree of violations of neural connections. Laboratory tests confirming Alzheimer's disease show a sharp decrease in α-β-42 and a simultaneous increase in tau protein.

Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

The essence of Alzheimer's disease has not yet been uncovered by scientists to the end. To date, there are only a few theories about the causes of the onset and development of the disease, but none of them has yet received worldwide recognition. The leading place among the hypotheses put forward is the genetic factor.

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Among other things, there are 3 groups at risk of morbidity:

  • uncorrected;
  • partially adjustable;
  • adjustable.

Alzheimer's disease, the causes of the onset and treatment of this disease - all these issues with uncorrectable factors are quite complex and unresolved at the moment.

Genetic factor of development of

Hereditary pathology accounts for up to 10% of all reported cases. The development of Alzheimer's disease by genetic mechanism begins earlier than 65 years. The gene is transmitted by an autosomal dominant type: even if the second parent is not a carrier, the healthy gene transferred to them is replaced by a pathological one. The probability of transmission to a child usually occurs in half the cases.

Despite the proven genetic factor, scientists are convinced that the development of the disease contributes to different types of chromosomes. Most recently, a defect in the gene of the 14th chromosome was found in the course of the research, which in 70% of cases leads to the development of the disease.

Disturbances of the 21st chromosome that cause Down's disease lead to early development of Alzheimer's disease in 5% of cases. The rarest pathology - the defect of the gene of the 1st chromosome - has a low probability of a "family" disease.

High-risk factors

Non-correctable causes are congenital or acquired anatomical or physiological pathologies that can not be cured or altered. To such factors it is possible to carry:

  • old age( more than 80 years);
  • belonging to the female sex;
  • trauma to the skull;
  • severe depression, stress;
  • lack of "training" for the intellect.

Partially adjustable factors constitute a group of diseases that cause acute or chronic deficiency of oxygen in the cells of the cerebral cortex:

  • hypertension;
  • atherosclerosis of the vessels of the neck, head, brain;
  • lipid metabolism disorder;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • heart disease.

Elimination of diseases reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Corrected - completely eliminated - factors include:

  • reduced physical activity;
  • lack of intellectual development, limited;
  • non-compliance with the basic principles of HLS.

Pathologies are not 100% guarantee of the development of the disease, but often precede it, which allows us to conclude about possible risk factors and prevention.

Stages of development of

Scientists have found out that Alzheimer's disease( initial symptoms) is manifested 15-20 years before the expressed clinical picture, which greatly complicates the prevention of the development of the disease. To date, there are 3 stages of the pathological process:

  1. Preclinical - pathology in the stage of nucleation, there are no violations of the CNS.
  2. Period of minor disorders - patients may notice a weakening of intellectual abilities and memory impairment.
  3. The initial degree of dementia - a close environment begins to notice something amiss. Most often, you can confirm the presence of the disease clinically.

Each of the stages has its own peculiarities and approaches to the provision of medical care.

Development of the disease at a young age

Early Alzheimer's disease develops before the age of 65, it is difficult to diagnose it in time because of a nonspecific clinical picture. The first signs appear in the form of forgetfulness, inability to plan and do those things that were previously given easily. The patient gets tired faster of mental work: keeping information in memory becomes more difficult.

Alzheimer's Disease: Causes and Treatment at an Early Stage

The initial stage develops within 7 years. Initial changes in the patient's condition occur under the influence of various factors. In the case of an established cause, all forces are sent to eliminate it. As a rule, local treatment gives good results.

Patients with Alzheimer's disease may complain about:

  • memory impairment;
  • occurrence of forgetfulness;
  • loss of ability to think;
  • psychoemotional disorders.

Alzheimer's disease may already be noticeable by relatives. Initial symptoms do not always directly talk about brain dysfunction, but many still seek medical help and learn about the diagnosis on time.


Memory impairments are of a short-term and long-term nature, and the patient is not always able to detect deterioration. The most pernicious forgetfulness is: often people with Alzheimer's disease leave gas or electricity turned on, which leads to incidents of an emergency nature. Perhaps the manifestation of the loss of long-term memory in the form of forgetfulness of past events. Partial restoration of memories occurs with associations. Memory impairment is rapidly progressing: after 6 months, the symptoms become more pronounced and dangerous for the patient's life.

The loss of the ability to think depends on the level of intelligence before the development of the disease. Sometimes a characteristic symptom becomes a sharp change of interests: watching TV instead of reading complex literature and other cases. The process of information processing and perception of the environment is disturbed, as a result of which the patient is lost in space and time.

Mental disorders as the driving force of the Alzheimer's

Serious psycho-emotional problems can cause Alzheimer's disease. The causes of the onset and treatment of such symptoms are found in the defeat of the brain and impaired conduction of nerve impulses. Insufficient synthesis of acetylcholine leads to the formation of amyloid plaques. Long-term depressive conditions negatively affect the functioning of the nervous system, and against the background of a weakened activity, dementia develops.

Impaired emotional state provokes Alzheimer's disease. The initial symptoms of a mental disorder are expressed in severe anxiety, committing harsh and unnecessary actions, complaints of restless and intermittent sleep. Sometimes there are attacks of acute psychosis, characterized by panic fear of persecution, anguish. Provoke a state of change of any kind: from rearranging furniture to moving to another dwelling. Progression of the disease is accompanied by a change of general anxiety to indifference. Treatment of a person with severe mental disorders involves, in particular, the use of antidepressants and psychotropic drugs.

Alzheimer's Disease: Causes, Stage 2 Treatment

Serious memory lesions, characteristic exclusively for this disease, become noticeable and more severe in the second stage of pathology development. The patient can no longer recall individual events even with the associative and other help of relatives. First of all, patients forget the recent events, while the distant past still remains in memory.

Violations of short-term memory lead to erroneous orientation in time. Sufferers of dementia can not accurately determine the time span of a particular event. In the stage of moderate development of the disease, memory is filled with non-existent memories, which can have a bizarre content.

Progression leads to a complete loss of luggage knowledge, especially those obtained in mature years and having a complex structure. Only those skills that have been vaccinated since early childhood are preserved and are repeated throughout the course of life. For example, knowledge of the native language, ways to communicate with people and self-service.

A distinctive feature of dementia at the 2nd stage is the preservation of emotional memory and the absence of actual memory. Often, patients do not remember if they have children or grandchildren, but contact with them causes animation, joy.

Loss of intelligence

The dominant factor of the 2nd stage is a violation of the cognitive abilities, which in the end leads to loss of independence. Developing dementia can be divided into mild, moderate and severe.

The manifestation of mild dementia is expressed in the loss of the ability to manage money: it is impossible to fill out accounts correctly, to calculate the amount to be paid. Gradually, the acquired vocabulary is lost, the speech becomes meager. Usually patients at this stage try to avoid communication. Violated the fine motor skills of the hands, which leads to illegible writing. There are gross grammatical errors, which were not there before.

Moderate dementia is characterized by a loss of writing and reading skills, often the speech of the patient becomes incomprehensible due to forgetfulness of words with subsequent replacement by those close to the sound. The person becomes more helpless: unable to dress independently for the weather, find the way home, forgets to turn off the stove or water. At the 2 nd stage of Alzheimer's disease with moderate dementia, the patient already needs constant help and the presence of relatives.

Severe dementia

The last stage of Alzheimer's disease is characterized by complete dependence on other people. The patient is not able to independently eat, go to the toilet, conduct hygienic procedures. The speech becomes incoherent and incomprehensible, the gait is disturbed, which makes it difficult for independent movement.

The swallowing reflex is gradually broken. Death occurs as a result of prolonged exhaustion of the body from sepsis or serious diseases.

Dementia in Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease for an ordinary person has a similar clinical picture, only an expert can make an accurate diagnosis. The emerging dementia has distinctive features. Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a more serious impairment of memory and intelligence. Parkinsonism only slows down speech and thinking. A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the deterioration of the psychoemotional state. Patients for a long time are in a state of depression and acute psychosis.

Parkinson & Alzheimer

The pictures show that Alzheimer's disease( photo above) and Parkinson's( photo below) affect the brain in different degrees. The first ailment develops in the temporal lobe and the hippocampal region, the resulting amyloid plaques lead to the death of nerve connections( the brain begins to "dry up").

patients with Alzheimer

Parkinsonism mostly affects the musculoskeletal system: the spine is bending more and more, the patient is getting lower and lower. Disturbs the incessant tremor of the hands, the movements become discoordinated.

Treatment of the initial stage of

We examined in general terms what an Alzheimer's disease is. The causes of the onset and treatment of ailment are not fully understood by science at the moment. Doctors constantly conduct research in the search for an effective medicine, but so far no unique drug has been created that can defeat the disease.

Treatment is carried out in a complex, consisting of:

  • therapy of mental disorders;
  • general strengthening of the body;
  • metabolism in the brain;
  • vascular strengthening;
  • general therapy for Alzheimer's.

It is important to start taking medications in time and to monitor the thorough implementation of all medical recommendations. Observe the development of the disease need in dynamics.

For the treatment of mild and moderate dementia, such drugs are used:

  • "Piribedil" - improves the transmission of nerve impulses in dopaminergic and norepinephrine synapses of the central nervous system. Improve memory and mental abilities.
  • "Pentoxifylline", "Vinpocetine" - improve blood circulation, prevent the formation of blood clots in the vessels of the brain.
  • Ginkgo biloba extract - stimulates the production of neurotransmitters, protects brain cells from toxins, improves blood circulation.
  • "Cinnarizine", "Nimodipine" - expand the vessels of the brain, protect cells from the harmful effects of excess calcium.
  • Pyrrolidone and its derivatives - improves oxygen supply of the brain, contributes to the normalization of protein synthesis in the cells of the brain.
  • "Actovegin", "Cerebrolysin" - contribute to the restoration of information chains, stimulate the processes of intracellular metabolism.

Hormone therapy

Scientists have come to a common opinion that the development of Alzheimer's disease contributes to a decrease in the synthesis of acetylcholine. Violated the balance between the production of acetylcholinesterase and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which causes oppression of the functions of neurons. The cells become wrinkled, the synapse space is emptied, and the neurons die. Autopsy in 100% of cases confirms Alzheimer's disease. Photos of the brain healthy and sick people can see the pathology even an ordinary person.

development of Alzheimer

Decreased synthesis of acetylcholinesterase allows to restore interaction between neurons and slow down the formation of amyloid plaques. Clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of the use of cholinesterase inhibitors. In patients, there is a decrease in dementia, memory is restored, skills of self-service and orientation in space and time are returned.

To date, 3 drugs are recognized that block choline esterase:

  • "Aripsept"( "Donepezil", "Arisept") - has a central effect, applied 5-10 mg per day.
  • "Reminil"( galantamine hydrobromide) - has a general effect, almost non-toxic, well concentrates attention. Apply to 8-12 mg per day.
  • "Exelon"( "Rivastigmine") - has a central effect, is more effective than other drugs with rapidly progressing forms of Alzheimer's disease. Produced in the form of tablets, plaster, solution. The initial dose is 3 mg per day.

The use of cholinesterase inhibitor medicines gives approximately the same results, but each patient responds in a way to hormonal therapy. If one of the drugs is not approached, the doctor replaces it with an analog. It is possible to judge the results of treatment only after a three-month course at the maximum allowable dosage.

The main contraindications are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, heart and urinary tract. The use of bronchial asthma and epilepsy is also not recommended.

Treatment of severe dementia

Irreversible changes in the brain cause Alzheimer's disease. The causes of the appearance of pathology - a question that constantly tormenting researchers. At the last stage of the disease, it is possible to use only one drug approved by the world medicine - Memantine. Degenerative processes in neurons are no longer controlled by cholinesterase alone, the situation becomes more complicated. Astrocytes of the brain begin to produce a toxin - glutamate, which kills neurons and astrocytes themselves.

early Alzheimer

"Memantine" regulates the metabolism of glutamate, which prevents the state of intoxication of the brain. Many specialists practice the use of "Memantine" together with cholinesterase inhibitors, which often gives good results.

The drug is perceived by the body well, has few contraindications( epilepsy and impaired renal function).The US and EU countries are using Memantine to treat Alzheimer's disease for 10 years.

Symptomatic therapy

Treatment is based on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors( "Fluoxetine", "Citalopram") and norepinephrine. In addition to positive effects on the psyche, drugs help to eliminate signs of mild dementia. The use of typical antidepressants can lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease, so when severe depression is prescribed tricyclic antidepressants.

In psychotic disorders, neuroleptics are used. However, it is worth considering that they increase the manifestation of dementia. They are used only in extreme cases, and doctors prescribe exclusively soft-impact drugs.