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Brain function and Alzheimers’ Dementia

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Scientist are working non-stop to find answers to questions about Alzheimers' that are being asked by people of all ages. With the discovery that symptoms of dementia start with people from around forty-five years old and up, it is becoming more important for every person to know more about the brain and how to keep it healthy. This starts with understanding how the most powerful organ of the body works.

The Cerebrum is the computer main frame.

The main part of the brain is called the Cerebrum. Within the Cerebrum are the sections that remember, solve problems, create thought, movement and feels. There are different areas or lobes within the Cerebrum where different actions and memories are processed and take place.

The brain is filled with arteries that lead to veins and capillaries. This network nourishes the neurons, the nerve cells and the memory ‘chips‘. Therefore there must be the right nutrition intake in order to keep the thinking, processing, problem solving, movements and feel functioning correctly.

Exercising the body and the brain keeps the blood pumping nutrition and oxygen throughout the neuron network to bring about balance to the electrical system.

The Cortex is the wrinkled outer layer of the Cerebrum.

Each area of the Cortex takes care of certain functions. These functions happen in the approximately 100 billion nerve cells with connections that scientist call the “neuron forest”. The brain cells, (the neurons or nerve cells), are where “tangles” occur causing Alzheimers’ disease.

Tracks in the nerve cells are the transport system for nutrients and other elements.

According to reports of autopsies’ performed on people who have died from Alzheimers’, the insides of neurons show that the tau protein is excessively phosphorylated with the tau protein. Tau protein normally helps the tracks in nerve cells stay straight.

Tau protein is naturally modified with phosphate molecules. However, if there is an excessive amount of phosphorylation, neurofibrobrillary tangles form and the tau collapses. The neuron transport tracks fall apart and disintegrate.

The Synapse is the connection between the nerve cells.

In Alzheimers', the connections or Synapse between the neurons are clumped together into sticky plagues of protein pieces called beta-amyloid.

According to Alz.org, scientist believe that the small clumps of beta-amyloid may block the cell to cell signaling at Synapses and activate immune system cells that trigger inflammation and devour disabled cells. This leaves a void and if new cells do not develop, memory and brain functioning lose that link. The brain can no longer be fed, therefore the cell dies.The process of the dying neurons spreads through the brain.

Scientific researchers are working toward finding the reasons for the formation of beta-amyloid and tau protein tangles and how to prevent or halt the processes.

Support Alzheimers' and other dementia research.

Typically, Alzheimers’ can start twenty years or more before discovery is made. The mild stages can last two to ten years and the severe cases can last from one to five years. For many, the disease is called the long good bye.

Support for research is an ongoing need. Go to Alz.org for information how legislation in health care reform helps those with Alzheimers' disease.

References

Take the brain tour at alz.org/braintour

Alz.org Research Grants - 2009

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