Alzheimer's Disease: Treatment

How is Alzheimer's disease treated? Alzheimer's disease is complex, and it is unlikely that any one drug or other intervention can successfully treat it. Current approaches focus on helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow or delay the symptoms of disease. What drugs are currently available to treat Alzheimer's? Several medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's. Donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), and galantamine (Razadyne®) are used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's (donepezil can be u [...]

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Alzheimer's Disease: Diagnosis

What should I do if I'm worried about memory loss or possible Alzheimer's? If you are concerned about changes in memory and thinking or changes in senses, behavior, mood, or movement that do not seem normal in yourself or a family member (see Symptoms for more information), talk with a doctor. A doctor can administer a brief memory screening test that can help detect problems, and can also do a complete exam to find out if a physical or mental health issue is causing the problem. How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed? Doctors use several methods and tools to help determine whether a person wh [...]

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Alzheimer's Disease: Symptoms

The course of Alzheimer's disease is not the same in every person, but symptoms seem to develop over the same general stages. In most people with Alzheimer's, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Scientists know that Alzheimer’s progresses on a spectrum with three stages—an early, preclinical stage with no symptoms; a middle stage of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (NIH/ADEAR); and a final stage of Alzheimer’s dementia. At this time, doctors cannot predict with any certainty which people with MCI will or will not develop Alzheimer’s. Early signs and symptoms The first symptoms of Alzheim [...]

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Alzheimer's Disease: Causes

Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer's disease in most people. In people with early-onset Alzheimer’s, a genetic mutation is usually the cause. Late-onset Alzheimer’s arises from a complex series of brain changes that occur over decades. The causes probably include some combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The importance of any one of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer's may differ from person to person. Age-related changes in the brain One of the great mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease is why it largely st [...]

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Alzheimer's Disease: The Basics

What is Alzheimer's disease? Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. [...]

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