Can Alzheimer’s Be Stopped?

Summary

This material was prepared by a big team which was written and produced by Sarah Holt known as film director. American and Colombian medical and genetic researchers united to investigate if Alzheimer’s disease can be stopped or not. On the example of several families from Colombia in which this disease was genetically transmitted, experiments were conducted to try to stop and prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Reflection

This film is produced in an understandable language and is based on real events taking place in ordinary families and ordinary people. It is in easy access and will be clear to anyone. I was very interested in this film and it seemed very interesting and informative as same disease has affected my family too. This is why I choose this film to revise.

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The story begins with the fact that one of the Colombian families received a very bad version of this Alzheimer’s disease and each family member gets sick very early, at the age of 40-45 years. It is believed that this is a very early age and a rare event in world statistics. Therefore, the doctors undertook to specifically study this situation to help this family. Alzheimer’s disease damages the brain so affected people cannot think as they could before and normally perceive reality. There is one phrase that is uttered by one of the members of the family of the patient, and I quote: ‘On some level, you know, Alzheimer’s is a kind of death in life, when your mom or your dad no longer recognizes their son or daughter. The person is no longer there, and yet they are. Deal with that.’ This phrase made me think and I heard some truth in these words that is actually very sad. There was an experimental drug administered to people who wanted to participate in a trial top take a chance and maybe escape from this challenging life situation. Narrator explains why the companies are having hopes on testing those drugs. The main points are to help millions of sick people plus get billions of dollars. Alzheimer’s disease is gaining momentum and world medicine is trying to come up with drugs that could prevent, treat, or at least slow down the progress. Unfortunately, a lot of experimentation was failed, but the world does not stand still and new inventions can be made. The first signs of Alzheimer may be anxiety, depression, and forgetfulness. This disease progresses rather quickly and a person can die in 7 to 10 years. It has been scientifically established that more often women are getting this disease; pathology in most cases develops in older people. Damage to the brain is accompanied by loss of memory, impaired thinking, orientation and coordination.

The last stage of Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by personal degradation, complete loss of memory, speech, body functions are lost, and death is possible. If the first symptoms of the disease were missed and treatment started with severe symptoms of the disease, the average life expectancy is 3 to 6 years. At this stage of the disease, the patient has cognitive impairment. The patient forgets everything, it is difficult for him to perform simple actions – to take the keys with him, the money when going to the store; the patient can go out in clothes out of season; he forgets words, he has the first signs of a speech disorder. At the mild stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient may get lost on his street, go to another part of the city, forget his address. Patients avoid communication, withdraw into themselves, are often annoyed, show aggression. With the development of pathology, the symptoms are the same for everyone, but the course of the disease occurs individually – in some patients, the disease progresses very quickly. Special tests were developed to determine the stage of the disease with the following classification: early, moderate (medium), severe (last).

The last stage of Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by complete degradation of the individual, the patient can no longer take care of himself, the reflexes are disturbed, he cannot swallow food, loses speech. The last stage of the disease confers a person to bed – the patient cannot raise his head, stops smiling, there is an increased muscle tone, the person experiences severe pain. This stage of the disease is fatal. At the last stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient needs help with everything – he cannot use the toilet by himself, there is urinary incontinence, he may not be well oriented in the apartment. The last stage of the disease requires the use of adult diapers, round-the-clock supervision of the patient. Living with such a patient becomes a very difficult ordeal for relatives. The patient behaves inadequately, can be aggressive, hit, shout, refuse to eat, hygienic procedures. During the severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease, it takes a long time to care for a sick person. Often, members of a family in which there is a patient with Alzheimer suffer from depression and experience chronic stress.

The main cause of Alzheimer’s disease is amyloid deposits in brain tissue that cause disruption of neural connections and cell death, which leads to degeneration of the brain substance. Amyloid deposits are formed in two variants. Amyloid plaques that form first in the tissues of the hippocampus, and then spread to the entire brain, prevent the organ from performing its functions. Amyloid increases the concentration of calcium in brain cells, which causes their death. The second type of deposits is neurofibrillary tangles. The tangles found in the study of the brain of a deceased patient consist of insoluble tau protein, which also disrupts normal brain function. The causes of deposits leading to the development of Alzheimer’s disease have not been precisely established.

Almost at the very beginning I wrote that one of my relatives had this disease. This is my aunt, my mother’s sister. Unfortunately, she is no longer with us and I understand that this may concern any of our family. I identified several signs that should be taken into account if they appeared, because if you identify this disease at an early stage, there will be more chances to overcome it. Here is the list:

  1. Loss of memory (This includes requests to repeat the same information several times, the growing dependence on written reminders and the difficulty in recalling recent events.)
  2. Neglecting the usual activities (Apathy, loss of interest, avoiding the usual circle of people and favorite activities.)
  3. Disorientation in time and space (Failure to determine the time of year, your location or why you ended up in this place.)
  4. Visual and spatial difficulties (It becomes difficult to climb or descend the stairs, climb into the bath, find your way home, read books.)
  5. Changes in personality and mood (Changes in behavior and mood.)
  6. Reduced writing and verbal communication skills.
  7. Difficulty solving problems or planning.
  8. Constant shifting of objects.
  9. Loss of judgment.
  10. Difficulties with the implementation of the usual tasks.

After all, this film gave me a lot of useful and necessary information. I really want this disease not to affect me and my family. I worked for some time in a Memory care Unit and saw it all with my own eyes. I saw different stages of this disease. And I tried to give warmth and care to these patients while no one was around. We will all hope very much that research and science will give us a new and effective medicine and society to get rid of Alzheimer”

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