Alzheimer’s and the Brain
Alzheimer’s and the Brain
We all know the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s and the brain damage that it creates, but the scale with which it cripples patients and renders them into shells of their former selves is something that is truly mind-boggling. As a disease, Alzheimer’s disorder has profound effects on the structure of the brain, erasing memory and impairing cognitive functions. It can only be hoped that medical science comes up with a cure for Alzheimer’s in the very near future to save those who are unfortunate enough to acquire it.
The many facets of Alzheimer’s and the brain damage that it brings can be further understood by looking into specific changes in the brain that follows the onset and progression of the illness. What follows are accounts from countless studies that seek to delve deeper into the effects of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s destroys the connections between neurons in the brain. These connections are responsible for the majority of the cognitive processes that go on in the brain, particularly those pertaining to problem solving. One who has had experience dealing with a patient with Alzheimer’s disease knows that one of the first things to be affected at the onset of the disease is the ability of the patient to solve everyday problems like navigation, elementary math, and even routine tasks like budgeting. This is mainly because the connections between the neurons are already compromised impairing the patient’s ability to think.
The damage done to the neurons eventually shrinks the brain such that all other brain functions are also severely impaired. Memory, feelings, and even recognition of people’s faces or voices go out the window when the whole brain has suffered substantial damage because of Alzheimer’s. The power of the brain lies in the sheer number of cells that work to store and process information. When this system is hijacked as in Alzheimer’s, the brain can no longer do what it does best and that is think and synthesize information.
Other areas of the brain that are compromised by Alzheimer’s and suffer significant impact include the shrivelling of the cortex, the shrinkage of the hippocampus, and swelling of the ventricles as the fluids build-up.
Today, medical science is far from making progress on curing Alzheimer’s and the brain problems that go with it. However, there is no let-up in the amount of resources invested to make headway in resolving Alzheimer’s disease. Given the relationship between Alzheimer’s and the brain damage that it causes, there should be no shortage of reasons to push through with the effort.
Every year the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease keeps growing and the only way to reverse the trend is to be able to understand the disease. The hope is that in the future, new developments in medical science can finally put an end to the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s and the brain damage it does.