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Caroline Savage



29 February 2016


Since the year of 1906 the Alzheimer’s disease has captivated the world. One of a more

mysterious disease, we see chemicals reactions in the brain slowly killing a patient. The effects

of Alzheimer’s can last up to 7 years before eventually the patient passes away. Alzheimer’s is

linked strongly with dementia so for the purpose of my research, I am looking at both. Ever since

the discovery of Alzheimer’s and Dementia it is now ranked the 6th highest cause of death and

over 5 million americans are diagnosed. A more interesting aspect to look at is what the chemical

reactions are that take place in the brain to cause memory loss, and what are the effects of them.

Even more, how scientist can use the knowledge of these reactions to create a cure of some kind.

According to the Royal Science of Chemistry Alzheimer’s is described as a neurological

disease. In a physical sense this disease is started by a major loss of neurons in the brain.

Connections in the brain cells are being disrupted. Tangling inside the cell have been observed as

well as senile plaque present outside of the cell. This plaque is composed of an amino acid

peptide known as amyloid. This is known as the most damaging amino acid in the brain and 15

years ago scientist suggested and accepted this amino acid likely had to do with the cause of

alzheimer’s. Amyloid binds heavily with copper. Scientists believe that the amyloid copper

combination creates radicals near the unsaturated lipid bilayers that are responsible for making

membranes in the cell. This overall cause much membrane damage. Amyloid also binds with

many other proteins that cause damage to the nervous system which causes nerve cell collapse.
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When amyloid handles insulin receptors it causes reversible memory loss as well as symptoms of

another incurable disease diabetes. Medicines are being developed to block this amino acid as

well as dissolve it into smaller pieces that will not have such an impact on bodily function.

The effects of these amyloid bindings are astronomical. When these amyloid bindings

occur in the brain, the consequences come in seven stages.The first stage is normal. This is

before anyone is diagnosed with the disease. The second stage is Normal Aged

Forgetfulness.This is normally found in 65 or older people. They find themselves forgetting

names of people as well as mindlessly forgetting where you placed something. Stage three is

known as mild cognitive impairment. The people start to ask the same question over and over

again. If at this point you still have a job you begin to not do as well at the job as you used to.

About halfway through this stage is when people begin to seek medical attention. This stage last

about 2-4 years.

Stage four is mild Alzheimer’s disease.Normally this is when you are are officially

diagnosed. It becomes hard to manage easy daily activities. This includes forgetting the date or

not being able to prepare meals or writing the wrong number on a check. You begin to forget

recent event such as visits or birthdays.Apart from these symptoms it is possible to survive

individually. This stage last 2 years. Stage five is moderate Alzheimer’s. You begin to not be

able to choose clothes appropriate for weather and you begin to need a caregiver.They begin to

forget major events in their lives as well as things such as their address and the current president.

You may not be able to recall the year or count backwards from a number. This stage last about

1.5 years. Stage six is moderate to severe alzheimer’s where people forget how to put their

clothes on. You may forget how to manage a toilet. Stage 7 is severe Alzheimer’s. At this point

you have a very short vocabulary. After a year people can not sit up or even stand.In the final
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stages you lose the ability to smile and you bones become rigid making you look paralized.

Eventually the patient passes.

As you can tell the simple tangling of these amyloid bonds can cause dramatic effects on

the person's health and well being. Unfortunately for those patients there is no known cure for

this disease. The chemistry that goes on inside an alzheimer's patient is so foggy it can be

difficult to know for sure the exact cause of Alzheimer's as well as what scientist can use to

reverse those effects.This disease is very complex. Since 1906 when Alzheimer's was discovered

scientists have been working for a cure. There are medications that prolong the life of a patient.

Once diagnosed you have a life expectancy of 4-8 years. In the last 2 years it is very intense and

very difficult for loved ones to watch the memory loss and inability of patients. The Obama

Administration has set a goal to be able to cure Alzheimer’s by 2030. Paying for the treatment of

patients is extremely high so as a result funds given to research are very minimal. However

billions of dollars have been given by the Obama Administration has been given to further

research.Researchers are look at a Jimson weed that might be able to help the cure. Worldwide

scientists are working to examine medicines and detect Alzheimer's early on in people.

Even though scientist have not found a cure for Alzheimer’s they do have a medicine that

prolongs the onset of symptoms. Aricept Oral is a medication commonly used by Alzheimers

patients. This is the only drug approved by the FDA that can be used in all three stages of

Alzheimer's which makes it a very commonly used drug. The scientific name for this medicine is

Donepezil. This is used to help the ability to function as well as improve memory. It is used

mainly with Dementia which is a form of Alzheimer's. While this medicine does not cure

Alzheimer’s, it blocks enzymes and restores the balance of neurotransmitters. In order for this

medicine to function it requires to be taken regularly. Memantine is another option for

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prolonging symptoms only used in the stage of moderate and severe patients. This medicine

enters the brain and changes the amount of the chemical glutamate. This chemical plays a big

role in learning new things and memory.When you have alzheimer's the brain cells release too

much of this chemical and when you take this drug it reduces that number and manages it. Like

most drugs this drug works much better when used with others.

In conclusion Alzheimer’s is one of the most difficult and mysteries neurological diseases

in our world today. Chemical reactions in the brain caused by an amyloid destroys membranes in

patients brains, causing memory loss and overall confusion. While this intricate reaction is

known as one of the causes of Alzheimer's there is no ultimate cause that scientist can pinpoint

when discussing the cause for this disease. However, advancements in medical technology allow

for the discovery of medicines such as, Aricept Oral and can prolong to onset of symptoms so

that patients and their families can hold on to the patient's memory and basic bodily functions for

as long as possible.

Works Cited

"A Cure for Alzheimer's." What is Alzheimer's Disease. A Place for Mom Inc., n.d. Web. 1 Feb.


"Alzheimer's Disease Treatment: Medications and Therapies." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 01

Feb. 2016.

"Alzheimer's The Chemistry." Royal Society of Chemistry. RSC Publishing, 6 Aug. 2009. Web. 1

Feb. 2016.

Putnam, Stewart. "Medication for Memory Loss." Alzheimer's Association. Alzheimer

Association, n.d. Web.

Reisberg, Barry. "Clinical Stages of Alzheimer's." Fischer Center for Alzheimer's Research

Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.

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