Scientists may have uncovered the area of the brain in which Alzheimer’s begins. The locus coeruleus is responsible for releasing norephinephrine, a chemical that helps regulate heart rate, cognition, attention, and memory. New research indicates that this area is subject to damage- including the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s- decades before people begin to show symptoms of the disease.
Information from Trends in Cognitive Sciences- Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Quarterly Publication
WebMD teamed up with actor Seth Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller Rogen, founders of Hilarity for Charity,
which raises awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, and journalist and Alzheimer’s advocate, Maria Shriver to
examine people’s beliefs and behaviors about the condition.
It’s part of WebMD’s special report: “Confronting Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Check it out at:
During the Christmas season when so many families get together may be the first time you notice a change in your elderly loved one.
Any subtle change in the way a person acts, behaves, or thinks could be an early sign.
Here are some changes that you might notice:
* He/she stood back during the gathering and didn’t have much to say
* Seemed very irritable
* Was confused
* Couldn’t find the bathroom in a family member’s house
If you notice any of these signs or other signs that just don’t seem right, it might be time for you to look into what is happening and
consult with their doctor.
How can you tell if you have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease?
There can be surprising systems and they don’t all involve memory problems:
* People’s ability to make decisions can be affected by the disease; unable to discern right from wrong
* Frequent falling. If you or someone you love is falling often, tell your doctor.
* Forgetting the function of objects: If you can’t remember where you put your keys, that is one thing- but if you can’t remember what the key is for, that
could be signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
* The inability to understand sarcasm. If you consistently don’t “get it” when someone is being sarcastic this could be a sign of atrophy in the brain
* Depression: If someone has never suffered from clinical depression in the course of their lives but develops it later in life this could be a sign of AD.
* Unfocused Staring: Unable to connect with what is happening around you and unable to make decisions. Essentially your brain becomes “unfocused”.
These symptoms may signal Alzheimer’s disease, but they could also be signs of another underlying condition. You should always make note of any of these symptoms and discuss them with your doctor.
The reality that someone you care about has Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming and may trigger a range of emotions: anger, fear, frustration and sadness. Family conflicts are common as the family struggles to deal with the changes.
To minimize the stress, try dealing with the issues together.
There are many ways that family members can help.
Some may be better at dealing with the financial responsibilities.
Others may feel helpful with doing the household chores and errands.
It is best to communicate as a whole group on a regular basis. If meeting physically is not possible, try sending emails and including all that are involved in your loved ones care.
Be open to compromise and suggestions that other family members may have.
Remember there isn’t any right or wrong way, it is the way that best meets the needs of your family member.
Caring for your loved one and enjoying your time together is most important.