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Definition

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degeneration of brain tissue that results in a decline in the brain's ability to function properly. It is the most common form of dementia and the fourth leading cause of death among adults.

Alzheimer's disease is devastating to both sufferers and their caregivers. In addition to the typical memory loss, individuals with Alzheimer's gradually lose their ability to reason, communicate, recognize family members, and carry out simple tasks of daily life. They may become disoriented, bewildered and frustrated, and experience dramatic mood swings. Motor skills are often impaired.

The exact cause of Alzheimer's disease is unknown, though theories include viruses, autoimmune disorders and environmental issues. While the causes aren't well understood, researchers have found that people with Alzheimer's have brain cells that become damaged and die. This in turn lowers the levels of neurotransmitters produced, creating signaling problems in the brain.

Signs & Symptoms

Individuals experiencing Alzheimer's disease may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Memory loss, disorientation, confusion, inattention
  • Inability to perform daily activities
  • Language problems
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Mood changes such as depression, paranoia, agitation, anxiety, childishness and delusions
  • Insomnia or disturbances in sleep/wake patterns
  • Incontinence
  • Seizures

Treatment

In addition to conventional measures - which may include medication and behavior therapy - modalities such as CranioSacral Therapy can play an important role in a comprehensive therapeutic approach.

CranioSacral Therapy can help improve the internal environment of the central nervous system to ease the harshness of symptoms and potentially slow the deterioration process. It has also been suggested that this particular therapy could well serve as a preventive measure due to its ability to enhance circulation of cerebrospinal fluid.