What is Alzheimer’s Disease? PDF Print E-mail
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in older people. More than 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer's disease. Although the vast majority are over the age of 65, onset at earlier ages is becoming more common.

Alzheimer's disease was first described in 1906 by German neurologist Alois Alzheimer. The first noticeable symptoms in a person with Alzheimer's may be a change in personality, marked by either withdrawal and apathetic behavior, or increased anxiety and paranoia. The disease causes irreversible changes in the nerve cells of certain areas of the brain. It is characterized by nerve-cell loss, abnormal tangles within nerve cells, and deficiencies of several chemicals, which are essential for transmitting nerve messages.

Over time, the disorder leads to behavioral and personality changes, memory loss, confusion, inability to learn new material,and deterioration in language and motor skills. It is progressive and, in later stages, Alzheimer's patients lose the ability to communicate with others. Today, it is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Most of what is known about Alzheimer's has been uncovered in the last 15 years. Researchers at six major medical research institutions in Texas are collaborating, as part of Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Consortium, to find better ways to treat, delay onset, or prevent Alzheimer's disease. For more information about Alzheimer's disease, visit the Links  page.

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Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Facts and Figures Report

Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium

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Alzheimer's Facts

1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia.