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Chapter 20 Drugs for Degenerative Diseases of the Nervous System

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Alzheimer's disease
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Affects mainly men and women over the age of 50.

Tremors: Hands and head develop a palsy-like motion of shakiness when at rest; "pill rolling" is a common behavior in progressive states, in which patients rub the thumb and forefinger together as if a pill were between them.

Muscle Rigidity: Stiffness may resemble symptoms of arthritis; patients have difficulty bending over or moving limbs. Symptoms are less noticeable at first but progress to become more obvious in later years.

Bradykinesia: Most noticeable of all symptoms such as difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking. Patients will have trouble initiating movement and controlling fine muscle movements. Walking becomes difficult and patients may shuffle their feet without taking normal strides.

Postural instability: Patients may be stooped over and easily lose their balance and results in frequent falls with associated injuries.

Affective flattening: Patients offend have a "masked face" where there is little facial expression or blinking of the eyes.