2477 words 10 pages
Alzheimer’s Disease
Kathryn Hardcastle,
PSY 340
February 5, 2012
Chris Garwick-Foley

Alzheimer ’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes a gradual and irreversible decline of cognitive abilities (Feldman, 2010, p. 325). Informally known as “old timers” disease, it strikes more than half of the elderly community greater than age 85 (Feldman, 2010). In addition to the loss of memory there are also major neurological, functional, and behavioral changes as well. There are a few risk factors including age, family history, and head injuries. There is no definitive way of predicting that a person will get Alzheimer’s, but there are genetic markers and neurological tests that can signify a person’s
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Estimates of the potential job income loss for Alzheimer’s disease are dependent upon the age of onset. In a study by Hay and Ernst, done in 1983, projections based on the current dollar value found that with a duration of 3.5 years for men and 5.0 years for women, the loss of income would be $800 billion. This amount will increase exponentially as more Baby Boomers age and begin to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease (Hay, 1987).
Alzheimer’s and Genetics
Even researchers are not sure of the precise cause of Alzheimer’s; some research shows Alzheimer’s occurs because of a mixture of genetic and additional factors. Each individual has 46 chromosomes, which are in 23 pairs. Normally, the individual’s receive one chromosome out of each pair from his or her parents. Genetic research has found evidence that link Alzheimer’s disease to chromosome numbers 1, 14, 19, and 21. Apolipoportien E gene in chromosome 19 is a link to the late stage of Alzheimer’s. Research shows that one specific variation in Apolipoportien E, APOE4, enhances the danger of acquiring Alzheimer’s. However, even though APOE4 influences the risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s, APOE4 is not a reliable genetic indicator for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s occurs fairly early and most frequently in certain social groups. In certain individuals, such as those of lower socioeconomic status, studies have shown an abnormality of one gene in chromosome 21. Researchers have also


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