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Neurological Conditions

Alzheimer’s  is an incurable terminal degenerative disease characterized by progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory and his aptitude to learn, compose judgments, communicate, and carry out daily activities in due course causing death by killing neurons which are Central Nervous System most functional units (Bibl,et al. 2006).

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The central nervous system is composed of the spinal cord and the brain. The role of the cerebrum is to interpret all sensory input, inaugurate the voluntary motion, and take controls of higher thought; it comprise of the cerebral cortex have  large tracts of white matter which take information in-between different brain parts, abasal nuclei. Hypothalamus maintains homeostasis and controls the pituitary gland. Thalamus integrates all sensory signals and then sends them for further processing to the cerebrum. The cerebellum coordinates voluntary motion. The brain stem controls involuntary body processes. Dendrites, receive all signals from the sensory receptors and other neurons; axon conducts nerve impulses.

In Alzheimer’s disease, neurons lose synapsal contact, die, and shrivel up causing the brain Atrophies and the vacuoles to enlarge (Aguero 2000). The atrophy starts at the entorhinal cortex then it proceeds to the hippocampus and then goes to the cerebrum leading to memory lapse.

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A well-known feature is a reduction in the cholinergic activity of the neurons. As the disease advances, symptoms include memory loss, irritability and aggression, confusion.  Language breakdown and general withdrawal of the patient as their senses continually decline. Gradually, the bodily functions get lost, ultimately leading to a fateful death.

During treatment, drug that regulates glutamate avoiding excitotoxicity are commonly used. Excitotoxicity is the process where excess of glutamate gets attached to the receptors thus creates an excess of calcium ions which triggers apoptosis, cerebral vascular events and cognitive decline (Aisen 2006). Acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors. AChE enzyme breaks down neurotransmitter ACh, then by inhibiting AChE, the ACh levels in the body rise. While escalating ACh levels does momentarily slow mental decline, it does not slow the fundamental cell death.  Donepezil is an example of this drug.

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The majority cases of this disease are not genetically inherited, though some genes tend to act as risk factors (Blennow, et al. 2006). Nevertheless difference in genes can be a risk. The best known factor is the inheritance of the allele of the apolipoprotein. This increases the risk by three times in heterozygote’s and by 15 more times in homozygote’s. Geneticists confirm that inheritance of a particular variant of APOE gene referred to as APOE4 tend to increases lifetime risk of ever developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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