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Chapter 10 Diseases

Terms in this set (43)

Disease of the brain in which many neurons in the cerebrum die, the cerebral cortex shrinks in size, and there is progressive deterioration in mental function. At first, there is a gradual decline in mental abilities, with forgetfulness, inability to perform daily activities, and difficulty making decisions. The patient uses the wrong words and is unable to comprehend what others say. This becomes progressively more severe over time and includes inability to care for personal needs, inability to recognize friends and family, and complete memory loss. The more neurons that are destroyed, the greater the cognitive impairment. Psychiatric symptoms of depression, anxiety, impulsiveness, and combativeness can also occur. Dementia is most often associated with old age (senile-onset dementia) and the cumulative effect of multiple small cerebrovascular accidents (multi-infarct dementia). Dementia can also be caused by brain trauma, chronic alcoholism or drug abuse, or chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's chorea. However, the most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is a hereditary dementia that is known to run in families with inherited mutations on chromosomes 1, 14, and 21. At autopsy, the neurons show characteristic neurofibrillary tangles that distort the cells. There are also microscopic beta amyloid senile plaques. The brain also has a decreased level of the neurotransmitter acetlycholine. Alzheimer's disease that occurs in early middle age is known as early-onset Alzheimer's disease or presenile dementia. TREATMENT: Drug to inhibit the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine