A form of Alzheimer's that involves only plaques and no neurofibrillary tangles. This form tends to have an older age of onset and death and a shorter disease duration.
- Gradual memory loss
- Gradual loss of judgment
- Gradual loss of ability to function
- Gradual loss of ability to perform familiar routine
- Gradual loss of ability to recognize familiar faces
- Gradual loss of ability to recognize familiar places
- Gradual loss of ability to remember names of objects
- Gradual loss of ability to feed oneself
- Gradual loss of ability to dress oneself
- Personality changes
- Behavioral changes
- Increasing inability to interact socially
- Speech problems
- Muscle twitching
- Muscle spasms
The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown; however, several factors are thought to be implicated in this disease. These include neurochemical factors, such as deficiencies in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, somatostatin, substance P, and norepinephrine; environmental factors; and genetic immunologic factors.
Therapy consists of attempts to slow disease progression, manage behavioral problems, modify the home environment, and elicit family support. Some medications have proven helpful. Tacrine, a centrally acting anticholinesterase agent, is given to treat memory deficits. It has slowed progression of the disease and improved cognitive function in some patients. Other agents include donepezil and rivastigmine. Underlying disorders that contribute to the patient’s confusion, such as hypoxia, are also identified and treated.