This is the first submission for this project. Please select an alteration in health (disease) that you would like to work on. Be sure to select a disease that has enough information and depth to meet the project requirements. Describe the selection in one paragraph and why you chose it. You may use your textbook or other resources for your selection. The disease selected must be approved by your instructor before you continue on to the next project assignment.

Selection: Alzheimer’s Disease

I have chosen to work on Alzheimer’s Disease for this project due to its significance and prevalence in today’s society. Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative brain disorder that primarily affects memory and cognitive function. It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults and currently has no cure. Alzheimer’s Disease not only affects the individuals diagnosed but also their families and caregivers, placing a significant burden on the healthcare system. This disease has been extensively studied, and there is a vast amount of research and literature available, allowing for a thorough and comprehensive analysis. By choosing Alzheimer’s Disease, I aim to contribute to the existing knowledge base and gain a deeper understanding of this complex disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cognitive decline, memory impairment, and behavioral changes. It is named after Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist who first described the condition in 1906 (1). AD is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases (2). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 50 million people worldwide have dementia, with Alzheimer’s Disease contributing to a significant proportion of cases (3). As the global population ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades, making it a critical public health concern.

The hallmark pathological features of Alzheimer’s Disease are the accumulation of amyloid-beta plaques and tau tangles in the brain (4). These abnormal protein aggregates disrupt neuronal function, leading to the progressive loss of synapses and neuronal death (5). The exact cause of Alzheimer’s Disease remains unknown, although several risk factors have been identified, including age, genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors (6). Advanced age is the greatest risk factor, with the majority of cases occurring in individuals over the age of 65 (7). Mutations in genes such as the amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin 1 (PSEN1), and presenilin 2 (PSEN2) have been associated with familial forms of Alzheimer’s Disease, indicating a genetic component in some cases (8).

The clinical presentation of Alzheimer’s Disease typically starts with subtle memory loss and difficulty in performing daily tasks. As the disease progresses, individuals may experience language problems, disorientation, mood swings, and behavioral changes (9). The cognitive decline is relentless, and in the later stages of the disease, individuals lose the ability to communicate, recognize loved ones, and carry out basic activities of daily living (10). The impact of Alzheimer’s Disease extends beyond the patients themselves, profoundly affecting their families and caregivers who bear the physical, emotional, and financial burden of caring for individuals with the disease.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, and available treatments only provide temporary symptomatic relief. The approved drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine, aim to enhance neurotransmission and modulate brain activity (11). However, these medications do not halt or reverse the underlying disease process. Numerous clinical trials have been conducted to develop disease-modifying treatments, targeting amyloid-beta and tau pathology, neuroinflammation, and other potential mechanisms (12). Despite promising results in preclinical models, many of these experimental therapies have failed to demonstrate efficacy in clinical trials, highlighting the complexity and challenges in treating Alzheimer’s Disease.

In conclusion, Alzheimer’s Disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that poses a significant burden on individuals, families, and society as a whole. The disease’s prevalence and impact on cognitive function and memory make it a topic of immense interest and research. By focusing on Alzheimer’s Disease for this project, I aim to broaden my understanding of the underlying mechanisms, current treatment strategies, ongoing research efforts, and the broader implications of this disease. In doing so, I hope to contribute to the existing knowledge base and potentially identify avenues for future research and therapeutic interventions.

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