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Center of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease (CEAD)
at SUNY Downstate Medical Center

What is Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia; it is the most common among older people.

It is an irreversible progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Memory is the first to be targeted by the disease; plaques and tangles forming on the brain is considered the main sign of the disease.

The disease was discovered by Alois Alzheimer in 1906, he noticed a change in brain tissue in a woman patient of his who died of an unusual mental illness.

These plaques and tangles as they form on the brain, they attack healthy nerve cells affecting their communication with each other resulting in their death. As the nerve cells die, brain tissue begins to shrink.

Increase in age and family history is a risk factor for the disease, as person's age to 60 and above they are more at risk of getting the disease. If person has a family history of Alzheimer's then they are more likely to get the disease once they reach a certain age.