Psychiatry for Physicians-Dementia - Dementia of Alzheimer's Type

By Mohammad Samir Hossain

Among all the patients with progressive cognitive decline about 50% suffers from Dementia of Alzheimer's Type (DAT). The risk of developing DAT increases with age. Other risk factors including genetics are also present. Macroscopic features of a DAT brain are cortical atrophy, widening of sulci, and ventricular enlargement. Microscopic features of the same are -

1. Neuronal loss

2. Neurofibrillary tangles

3. Neuropil threads

4. Neuritic plaques

5. Dystrophic neuronal processes

6. Granulovacuolar degeneration

7. Amyloid angiopathy

In DAT the most severe pathological change occurs in medial temporal lobe. The first changes are seen in the entorhinal cortex. The location and number of lesions are the main factors behind clinical features of DAT.

DAT usually starts after the age of 50 years. It's progression it too silent to be noted by the family members initially. Initially the patients are more rigid, inflexible, less adventurous, more irritable, and less spontaneous. The overall quality of performance declines and patient becomes gradually dependent on others. The patient deteriorates over months or years, very especially on the aspect of cognitive function. In case of patients with concurrent medical illnesses dramatic deterioration may occur. Independence of the patient's daily activity gets severely hampered. Psychotic features like delusion, hallucination often develop. Ultimately the patient fails to recognize their family members or even their own face. Seizures are seen at the late stage of the disease. The final stage of the disease is usually characterized by the followings -

1. Incontinence of urine and feces

2. Loss of intelligible vocabulary

3. Difficulty in walking and sitting up

The diagnosis of DAT mainly requires gradual, progressive development of multiple cognitive deficits. Both memory impairment and cognitive disturbances are included in these deficits. Patient fails to remember three unrelated words for 3 minutes. Cognitive disturbance patterns are more or less consistent with those described in the introductory portion of dementia.

For the purpose of treatment the following steps are necessary -

1. Control of abnormal behavior related to the disease

2. Attempts to restore cognitive functions

3. Attempts to delay cognitive decline

The above three purposes are connected with pharmacotherapy in the line of the biological abnormality present. Other environmental approaches are also important.

Dr. Mohammad Samir Hossain PhD is a researcher teacher of Psychiatry and a Psychotherapist in Bangladesh. He is renouned for his educational and research activity in mental health sector nationally and internationally. The Dictionary of International Biography cites his brief biography starting from its 33rd edition. One of the best educational institutions involved with his educational activity is the Harvard Medical School of USA. Visit his personal page at

More Resources

$errorCode = 9
xml_error_string() = Invalid character
xml_get_current_line_number() = 301
xml_get_current_column_number() = 23
xml_get_current_byte_index() = 29998
Custom Search

More Alzheimer's Articles:

Related Articles

Loneliness Linked To Increased Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease

People who feel lonely may be twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease in their later years as those who feel they have a close network of friends and family, researchers report. The findings appeared in the Archives of General Psychiatry, a mental health journal from the American Medical Association.

Remembering Manuel...(Alzheimer's/dementia)

Heart-breaking is the only word I can use to describe Manuel, who was a patient the same time I was a patient, at the VA hospital in 2005. At the time, I knew nothing about dementia...that awful disease that takes away the mind, and leaves the person hopelessly in the dark!

Is It Alzheimer's Or Simple Forgetfulness? An Alzheimer's Definition

Find out the real Alzheimer's definition. Learn what to do if you or someone you know seems to have Alzheimer's.

Behavioral Manifestations of Alzheimer's Dementia

Alzheimer's Dementia has a combination of cognitive and behavioral manifestations. Cognitive impairment is the core problem which includes memory deficits and at least one of the following: aphasia or language problem, agnosia or problems with recognition, apraxia or motor activity problem, and impairment in executive functioning (e.g. planning, abstract reasoning, and organizing).

Understanding Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's disease is still an extremely controversial subject as there is no known cause and no known cure. But thanks to microscopes, laser scans and a multitude of other medical advances, there really is no controversy about what part of the body Alzheimer's affects, and that is the brain. Alzheimer's essentially causes a loss of brain tissue over time that starts with a person forgetting simple things and progresses to fully fledged dementia. The big question that everyone wants to know is what causes Alzheimer's and what can be done to prevent it?

Reduce Risk of Alzheimers - Play Chess

If there was ever a good reason to play chess it's this one, your brain's health. Mental activities like playing chess have been linked to reducing the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease and Dementia.

Identifying the Stages of Alzheimer's

Identifying the stages of Alzheimer's helps family members and friends in anticipating what changes to expect and how to prepare. Knowing what to expect, in some cases, helps to make the disease easier to deal with.

Supportive Information On Coping With The Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer's Disease

There's no doubt about it - if someone you love develops Alzheimer's disease, your lives will be changed forever. It's truly devastating to watch someone you love as they begin to lose their memory, and as the disease progresses, it also becomes a lot more difficult to care for that person. Let's take a look at a few basic ways in which you can cope more effectively as your loved develops Alzheimer's.

The Conditions Of Alzheimer's Dementia Explained

Alzheimers disease is fundamentally a form of mental disorder known as dementia. The disease is by far the most ever-present dementing illness of today with the more common form of Alzheimers disease known as late-onset Alzheimer's.

Are All Dementias Alzheimer's?

I'm surprised when some patients and caregivers confuse dementia and Alzheimer's as one and the same. Each time a family member is suffering from memory loss, the conclusion is always Alzheimer's. Is it reasonable to label all dementias as Alzheimer's?

cript src="//' + encodeURIComponent(document.location.href) + '">');