The symptomatology of Alzheimer's disease stems from the brain changes that are caused by the disease, characterized mainly by the development of plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the affected brain parts.
The main parts of the brain that are affected are those whose functions relate to memory, of which the hippocampus is the main area, as well as the cerebral cortex which determines cognition, decision-making, and thinking. These two affected areas lead to the characteristic symptoms of memory loss as well as cognitive and behavioral problems respectively. Amyloid plaques or senile plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles, are the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (Hanin et al. 217; Perry 97). The development of amyloid plaques in the hippocampus is one of the most significant brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. The hippocampus' main function is encoding as well as recalling of memories, and is, therefore, responsible for the development of long-term memory. Plaques form through the process of amyloidosis, due to the deposition of the toxic protein …show more content…
Aside from memory, the cerebral cortex is also responsible for cognitive functions such as perception, attention, memory, language, and inhibition. In Alzheimer's disease, these functions are affected. Basic skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic begin to prove difficult for a person with Alzheimer's. Thus, the progressive deterioration of specific cognitive skills of language, motor, and perception coupled with impaired activities of daily living supports a probable diagnosis of Alzheimer's (Tupper &Cicerone 138). Moreover, individuals may begin to exhibit symptoms such as inappropriate language or undressing in public. Due to a disruption in the function of the cerebral cortex, the cognitive function of inhibition is disrupted. As such, the normal override that prevents ordinary people from doing these things is interfered with. Judgment is also affected, leading to the making of poor decisions that may even endanger the patient.
Another area greatly affected by the disease is Language skills. These take on different manifestations. Individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may begin to repetitively voice phrases that were spoken by them or by other people to them. Moreover, in worse cases the patient may begin to speak in a manner that is unrecognizable, or even go mute altogether (Khan 129). In the final stages of the disease, patients are usually totally unable to communicate