Alzheimer's Paper

Alzheimer's Paper - Tau: Killer of Cognitive Thought BY...

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Tau: Killer of Cognitive Thought BY JASON CHRISTIAN LAWRENCE - Many neurodegenerative diseases are a cause of aging. While memory loss is usually associated with neurodegenerative diseases, it is, in fact, the cause of normal degeneration of the brain and formation of hard clusters of dying neurons, known as senile plaques; an increase in decayed dentricles – neurofibrillary tangles; and chemical interactions in the brain rather than the death of neurons 1 . Long-term memory loss occurs in patients with neurodegenerative disease long before the causes of the disease remotely reach the ability to kill brain cells 2 . One of the most devastating neurodegenerative diseases in the United States today is Alzheimer’s disease. “Alzheimer’s is the eighth leading killer in the nation today,” explains Dr. Chris Gamblin, PhD, professor at the University of Kansas and project leader of The Role of Tau in Alzheimer's and Other Neurodegenerative Disorders. “About 20 to 30 million people today suffer from mild-cognitive impairment and about 70 percent of those 20 to 30 million will have at least a small case of Alzheimer’s disease 2 .” Alzheimer’s patients tend to live shortened lives caused by secondary effects of the disease. For example, a woman with Alzheimer’s disease may lose her ability to swallow correctly and develops pneumonia from food entering the lungs, or a man with Alzheimer’s disease loses control of his bladder, which leads to infection. Usually, Alzheimer’s patients pass away from secondary causes of the disease about eight years after being diagnosed 1 . Gamblin says that, physically, Alzheimer’s disease cannot be confirmed until death and an after an autopsy is performed 2 . Doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s patients with the disease when the patient displays significant memory loss and one other cognitive disability such as movement, speech, change in behavior, problems performing routine tasks, disorientation, and
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poor judgment. After death, a doctor’s diagnosis is confirmed by the presence of large quantity of senile plaque and neurofibrillary tangles in the microtubules of Alzheimer’s patients 3 . While the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, many scientists believe that the disease is caused by abnormally polymerized forms of the proteins beta-amyloid and tau 2 . For a century, Alzheimer’s disease has been studied to determine the causes and effects of the disease on the brain. Until the early 1990’s, before proteins tau and beta-amyloid were discovered to effect cognitive thought, little progress had been made 4 . Most research being done today regarding Alzheimer’s deals with the effects of beta-amyloid on the formation of senile plaques in Alzheimer’s patients. The majority of multi-million dollar researching institutes dealing with
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Alzheimer's Paper - Tau: Killer of Cognitive Thought BY...

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