Memory Loss and Alzheimer's Disease – Neurology Example

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"Memory Loss and Alzheimer's Disease" is a perfect example of a paper on neurology.   Memory loss is a common problem associated with old age people. Earlier people thought that memory loss is a biological factor associated with old age. But there many old people who have better memories than others. In fact, some old people talk too much about the things happened even during their childhood. So researchers and medical science have concluded that memory loss associated with old age has some other reasons and the discovery of Alzheimer’ s disease has proved that.

Medical science now established that even though a slight loss of memory can happen because of old age, the major villain for memory loss at later stages of life is none other than Alzheimer’ s disease. Doraiswamy et al, (2009) have mentioned that Alzheimer’ s can occur even at the age of forties or fifties (Doraiswamy et al, 2009, xvii). Moreover, they also mentioned that the major cause of dementia is Alzheimer’ s and the number of people with Alzheimer’ s in the United States has been doubled since 1980 (Doraiswamy et al, 2009, p. xix).

This paper briefly analyses the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’ s disease. Memory Loss and Alzheimer's Disease Fotuhi & Rabins (2004) have mentioned that the misconception around twenty years ago about the relationships between age and memory has been cleared now after recent scientific researches. Twenty years ago people thought that it would be normal for the old people to loss memory because of ageing whereas the current studies have shown that it was a misconception even though shrinkage of brains cells and the subsequent slower learning of new things may happen (Fotuhi & Rabins 2004, p. xiv).

Rapid memory loss will never happen for the old age people if they have no physical or mental disorders. On the other hand, if they have diseases like Alzheimer’ s or dementia, the ability to recall or recognize things can be lost. Ageing can change the way of storing information in the brain. Long term memories will never be affected because of ageing even though the recent memories might be affected by ageing. American Academy of Family Physicians (2009) has pointed out that Alzheimer's disease starts by changing the recent memory.

A person with Alzheimer's disease will remember even small details of his or her distant past but not be able to remember recent events or conversations. Over time, the disease affects all parts of the memory (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2009). In other words, Alzheimer’ s may not affect the entire faculties of mind or brain which may control the memory at the early stages. It acts just like the cancer disease. It spread from one corner to another. In other words, it affects the recent memory faculties initially and spreads to past memories and subsequently, it will destroy the entire memory if precautions were not taken. Even among patients with Alzheimer’ s disease, memory may function differently.

Alzheimer’ s patients may recall some things from their memory whereas they may forget other things. Mace & Rabins, (2006) have mentioned that our brain stores and processes memories of emotions differently than the memories of facts and it is possible for Alzheimer’ s or dementia patients to damage one without damaging the other (Mace & Rabins, 2006, p. 24).

Brain functioning is still a mystery to medical science. There is a lot of areas in the brain which still challenges the expertise of medical science. We have a lot of examples in which different people Alzheimer’ s behave differently even though all of them have some memory problems. Some of them may recollect the memories associated with emotions but fail to recollect facts whereas some others with Alzheimer’ s may recollect the facts, but fail to recollect the emotional experiences. For example, some Alzheimer’ s patients may recollect the date of death of their beloved ones whereas they may forget their birth date or wedding date.

On the other hand, some others with Alzheimer’ s may recollect their birth date or wedding date whereas they may forget the death of their beloved ones. In short, the processing of memory by Alzheimer’ s patients is extremely difficult to understand, but we can conclude that there are variations in their memory processing methods or abilities. Diagnosis of Alzheimer’ s disease at an early stage is important in the treatment of Alzheimer’ s. The sooner the patient gets the correct diagnosis, the better the chances of recovery.

Doraiswamy et al, (2009) have argued that doctors commonly make the mistake of relying too much on the memory tests in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’ s which is not the right strategy (Doraiswamy et al, 2009, p. xx). Alzheimer’ s have other symptoms like confusion, problems with attention and spatial orientation, changes in personality, language difficulties and unexplained mood swings apart from the memory problems which should be considered by the doctors rather than going after the memory tests alone (American Health Assistance Foundation, 2010). Fotuhi & Rabins (2004) have mentioned that normal ageing is not associated with disabling memory loss and the risk of Alzheimer can be reduced just like reducing the risk of heart attacks through precautionary measures (Fotuhi & Rabins 2004, p. xiii).

Hill (2008) has mentioned that researchers are making encouraging advances in Alzheimer's treatment, including medications and non-drug approaches to improve symptom management. Moreover, when physicians develop treatment plans, they often consider cognitive and behavioural symptoms separately (Hill 2008). Medications and Yoga are some of the most commonly advised treatment for Alzheimer’ s. Even though medicines cannot regain the lost memories, it can help to prevent further damages to the memory.

In other words, medicines can slow down the process of memory loss among Alzheimer’ s patients. Conclusions Rapid memory loss at an older age is not because of ageing, but because of problems like Alzheimer’ s or Dementia. Alzheimer’ s affects the recent memories initially and then spreads to the entire memory. It is difficult to recover completely from Alzheimer’ s disease, but it is possible to slow down the memory loss using medications and other treatments.

References

1. American Academy of Family Physicians (2009), Memory Loss With Aging: What's Normal, What's Not, Retrieved on 31 May 2010 from http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/seniors/common-older/124.html

2. American Health Assistance Foundation (2010), Alzheimer's Symptoms & Stages Retrieved on 31 May 2010 from http://www.ahaf.org/alzheimers/about/symptomsandstages.html

3. Doraiswamy PM, M.D., Gwyther LP, M.S.W.& Adler Tina (2009), The Alzheimer's Action Plan: What You Need to Know--and What You Can Do--about Memory Problems, from Prevention to Early Intervention and Care, Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (April 28, 2009)

4. Fotuhi M & Rabins PV (2004), The Memory Cure : How to Protect Your Brain Against Memory Loss and Alzheimer's Disease, Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (March 1, 2004)

5. Hill C (2008), Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease, Retrieved on 31 May 2010 from http://alzheimers.about.com/od/treatmentofalzheimers/a/treatments.htm

6. Mace NL & Rabins PV (2006), The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 4th edition (October 9, 2006)

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