Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease

Pathology:                   Presence of cerebral neuronalcell loss, senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and beta-amyloid deposition


Aetiology:                    Most common cause ofdementia predominantly affecting memory. The age of onset is usually from 6thdecade onwards


Symptoms:                  Short Term Memory Loss:Progresses gradually to involve other cognitive domains

Progressive Personality Changes: Apathy,wandering and emotional lability.

Language Deficits: wordfinding difficulty, problems with reading and writing

Advanced Stages: Mobility, speech,swallow and memory are severely affected.


Signs:                              Rigidity,myoclonus and seizures in the late stages.


Investigations:          Bloods: B12, TSH, Syphilis, HIVto screen for reversible causes of dementia

Imaging: MRI or CT brain may show atrophy in the medialtemporal lobe

Treatment:                   Medical: Central cholinesteraseinhibitors such as donepezil, galantamine and

rivastigmine mayslow disease progression.

Symptomatictreatment with antidepressants or neuroleptics

MDT Approach: Physiotherapy, occupationaltherapy, SALT and family input


Complications:          Agitation,incontinence, depression, falls, wandering, self-neglect



Prognosis:                    The average life expectancyfrom the time of diagnosis is around 6-7 years, Death is usually due to sepsis.

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