Alzheimer's Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends by Daniel Kuhn

By Daniel Kuhn

This version contains the newest info on Alzheimer’s danger elements, remedies, and prevention, in addition to a brand new bankruptcy, “Voices of Experience,” composed of reflections via kinfolk. It additionally offers information regarding new medicines licensed on account that 1999 and the federal government’s selection to hide counseling and different health-related companies via Medicare.

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Extra info for Alzheimer's Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers

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Qxd 2/17/2003 3:44 PM Page 15 The Need for an Accurate Diagnosis 15 AD unfolds over a period of many years. The slow damage to and death of nerve cells that accompanies the disease used to be visible only upon microscopic examination of certain regions of the brain. Recent advances in technology, however, now can detect such abnormal changes using brain scans. The disease typically occurs first in a thimble-sized area known as the hippocampus, believed to be the main recorder of new memories. It also attacks certain other areas, notably the cerebral cortex.

Since intensive research efforts first began in the late 1970s, there have been numerous theories about the underlying causes of AD. Environmental toxins, genetics, and viruses have all been suspected. Yet researchers have been frustrated in their efforts to understand the basic biological mechanisms that lead to AD, and no single cause for AD has been identified. There is a consensus among scientists that AD probably has many complex and related causes, similar to other major diseases like heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Unfortunately, health insurance does not adequately reimburse physicians for the time and effort to deal with this disease effectively. Even the most compassionate physician may not be able to address the array of challenges presented by AD. Nevertheless, these considerations should not deter a physician from making a medical evaluation or from referring you and the person with symptoms to a specialist. He or she may need to be prompted to take the symptoms seriously, which means you may need to make a phone call to the physician’s office in advance of a visit, or engage the physician directly in a discussion about your observations.

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