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What is Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a brain condition leading to memory loss, language deterioration, poor judgment, confusion, restlessness, mood swings, and impaired ability to manipulate visual information.
As a progressive disease, AD eventually destroys cognition, personality, and the overall ability to function. The early symptoms of AD, which include forgetfulness and loss of concentration, are often missed because they resemble natural signs of aging. The course of AD can vary from five to 20 years.
The neurodegenerative disease involves abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (neurofibrillary tangles) in the brain. Age is the most important risk factor; the number of people with the disease doubles every five years beyond age 65.
Three genes have been discovered that cause early-onset (familial) AD. Other genetic mutations that cause excessive accumulation of amyloid protein are associated with age-related (sporadic) AD.
UR Medicine's Treatments for Alzheimer's Disease
Our Memory Care Program focuses on patients with memory problems due to dementia and/or Alzheimer’s and offers the most up-to-date treatment options.
There is no known cure for AD. For some people in the early or middle stages of AD, medication such as tacrine (Cognex) may help with some symptoms. Donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl) may keep some symptoms from becoming worse for a limited time.
A fifth drug, memantine (Namenda), was approved for use in the United States. Combining memantine with other AD drugs may be more effective than any single therapy. One controlled clinical trial found that patients receiving donepezil plus memantine had better cognition and other functions than patients receiving donepezil alone.
Other medications may help control behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety, and depression.
What Sets Us Apart?
We offer the most complete and advanced care in the region for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Most importantly, we establish relationships with our patients. We treat you as a person, not a disease. We listen to you, communicate with you, and take the time to understand the consequences your illness imposes on your daily life.
Understanding your needs, values, and priorities is part of how we care for you. The AD-CARE program at the University of Rochester Medical Center conducts clinical studies around Alzheimer’s disease.
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The AD-CARE program at the University of Rochester Medical Center conducts clinical studies around Alzheimer’s disease.Learn More About AD-CARE