Alzheimer's Fact Sheet

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - "Chaos of thought and passion, all confused," - Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet An Essay on Man, Epistle II, Line 13 (1734)Our Sunday dinner at Cafe Ysabel a few weeks back, had fried pig brain as hors d'oeuvere. Chef Gene (Gonzalez) offered it to me across the table and I tried it. While firm on the surface, the inside was tasty gooey and I thought that if this pig had Alzheimer's (or senile dementia), I was digging right into its neurofibrillary tangles.What's Alzheimer's disease? This borders on the philosophical but should I ask you what makes you, you - you may stammer at the end - my experiences and memories. And that exactly is what this progressive, irreversible brain disease does. Alzheimer's not only erases your treasured memories but also affects cognitive function - that is, losing your thinking and reasoning. Dissecting an Alzheimer's brain will show abnormal tangles and plaques where healthy neurons used to be. For most people, it begins to manifest after 60 (late onset) but early onset, as early as the 30s, can occur with gene mutations.Types. By severity, clinicians have identified three stages: Mild, moderate, and severe. In the mild type, memory and cognitive abilities begin to deteriorate. On the ground, that means literally getting lost in what used to be familiar territory, having trouble working with money and paying bills (not because there is no money, of course), poor judgment and small changes in mood and personality. In the moderate stage, brain damage is worsening so the affected person will now have difficulty recognizing family and friends. …