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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the symptoms, potential causes, and treatment of several examples of nervous system disorders

A nervous system that functions correctly is a fantastically complex, well-oiled machine—synapses fire appropriately, muscles move when needed, memories are formed and stored, and emotions are well regulated. Unfortunately, each year millions of people in the United States deal with some sort of nervous system disorder. While scientists have discovered potential causes of many of these diseases, and viable treatments for some, ongoing research seeks to find ways to better prevent and treat all of these disorders.

Neurodegenerative disorders

Neurodegenerative disorders are illnesses characterized by a loss of nervous system functioning that are usually caused by neuronal death. These diseases generally worsen over time as more and more neurons die. The symptoms of a particular neurodegenerative disease are related to where in the nervous system the death of neurons occurs. Spinocerebellar ataxia, for example, leads to neuronal death in the cerebellum. The death of these neurons causes problems in balance and walking. Neurodegenerative disorders include Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia disorders, and Parkinson’s disease. Here, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease will be discussed in more depth.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease    is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. In 2012, an estimated 5.4 million Americans suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and payments for their care are estimated at $200 billion. Roughly one in every eight people age 65 or older has the disease. Due to the aging of the baby-boomer generation, there are projected to be as many as 13 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States in the year 2050.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include disruptive memory loss, confusion about time or place, difficulty planning or executing tasks, poor judgment, and personality changes. Problems smelling certain scents can also be indicative of Alzheimer’s disease and may serve as an early warning sign. Many of these symptoms are also common in people who are aging normally, so it is the severity and longevity of the symptoms that determine whether a person is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease was named for Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist who published a report in 1911 about a woman who showed severe dementia symptoms. Along with his colleagues, he examined the woman’s brain following her death and reported the presence of abnormal clumps, which are now called amyloid plaques, along with tangled brain fibers called neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and an overall shrinking of brain volume are commonly seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Loss of neurons in the hippocampus is especially severe in advanced Alzheimer’s patients. [link] compares a normal brain to the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. Many research groups are examining the causes of these hallmarks of the disease.

Questions & Answers

state any one specialized animal cell and it's function
Pascal Reply
sperm cell: Fertilization
Tshering
Can DNA and RNA be praticalized
Oyewale Reply
you can make models of them and show how they replicate
Oswald
what is dentition
Tisa Reply
Study of teeths and their functions
Stanisla
what are the function
Tisa
it's not teeths. teeth is plural as well as singular noun. the function of the teeth is to cut and grind food for easier swallowing and for increasing the surface area if the fish as the substrate in which digestive enzymes work
Oswald
dentition is not the study of teeth but the arrangement of teeth in the mouth of species or individuals
Oswald
what are the two types of teeth
Tisa
Function of probosis
Adeola Reply
why do we study biology?
SYDNEY Reply
where biology began
Alhaji
What are chromesome
Talkmore Reply
condensed DNA wrapped with histone
Elias
what is chromosome?
Royd Reply
How can a person who has been in the vascular disease repairs his or her DNA
Rabson Reply
i need its explanation sir..pls provid na...🙁
Shaf Reply
Of wat
John
explanation for wat
Christian
Of war na so dat I can provide
John
Is d process which food is converted into substance dat can be utilize by d body
John
the meaning of disgestion
Charity Reply
because they are considered to be proteins ..lipids,fats, and nucleic acids
Geeta Reply
what is osmosis
Festus Reply
Is the movement of solvent molecules from the region of a higher concentration to the region of lower concentration
Muhammad
It is the movement of solvent from the region of lower concentration to the region of higher concentration through a semi-permeable membrane.
Helen
and diffusion
Prudent
it is the movement of water molecules fro region of higher conc. to the region of lower conc.thro a semi-permeable membrane.
Chansa
Diffusion is the movement of solute molecules from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration.
Quartey
osmosis is the movement of water molecule from the region higher water potential to a region of lower water potential
Pascal
what is the function of Nerve cell?
Pascal
Hello Everyone!! Any good study app recommendations?
HONNEA Reply
For which subject
Sinyinza
Biology:)
HONNEA
Hello everyone!! I want to be sure does exoskeleton consist of endoskeleton? plz help right nw
Sinyinza
Try this one and also biology Olevels
Sinyinza
Thanks!
HONNEA
Hey, I'm completely new to biology. I'm computer science graduate but I want to learn Neuroscience from scratch. So I have decided to study this book as my entry point to the field. is this book good for a complete beginner in the field?
Adeetya Reply
Yes it can help since u ar a beginner
Sinyinza
Thanks for the clarification.
Adeetya
WhAt are the differences between prokaryotic cell and eukaryotic cell
oluwapelumi Reply
Prokaryotic cell is a single celled organism that do not have membrane -bound nuclei.
Quartey
prokaryotes also lack other cell organelles whereas eukaryotes possess an organized nucleus with nuclear envelope and also they have complex locomotory and cytoskeletal structures
Pepper
genetic material is found in cytoplasm in prokaryotic cell while in eukaryotes genetic material is found in nucleus
shams
What cells are the basic unit of life?
Agyeman

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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