2-Minute Neuroscience: Alzheimer’s Disease


In this video, I discuss Alzheimer's disease — the most common form of neurodegenerative disease. In addition to the generalized neurodegeneration that occurs in Alzheimer's disease, there are specific neurobiological abnormalities that appear in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. For example, groups in an erroneously folded form of a protein called amyloid beta develop around neurons; Clusters are called amyloid plaques. In addition, clusters of poorly folded tau protein develop within neurons; These clusters are called neurofibrillary tangles. The most common treatments for Alzheimer's disease are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which are drugs that inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is believed to be important for healthy cognition, but acetylcholinesterase inhibitors have relatively modest effects on the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Welcome to the neuroscience of 2 minutes, where I explain in a simplistic way the subjects of neuroscience in 2 minutes or less. In this delivery I will talk about Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of neurodegenerative disease, meaning that it is characterized by the degeneration and death of neurons. It is classified as a type of dementia, a term that refers to a category of brain disorders involving loss of memory and cognitive impairment. Alzheimer's most often affects adults over 65 years. The causes of the disease are not well understood and the genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved.

Alzheimer's disease is associated with neuronal death throughout the brain, which may be large enough for regions of the brain to appear atrophied (or cramped) compared to a healthy brain.

A hallmark of Alzheimer's disease is the formation of poorly folded protein clusters inside and outside neurons. One of these proteins, the amyloid beta protein, is found in the extracellular space around neurons in a healthy brain. During Alzheimer's disease, however, misfolded beta amyloid forms clump together into deposits called amyloid plaques. Another protein called tau protein, normally found inside neurons and involved in maintaining neuronal structure, is also found in a poorly folded state in Alzheimer's. It accumulates inside neurons in bundles called neurofibrillary tangles. Although amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, it is unclear whether they contribute to neurodegeneration or are part of the brain's response to it.

The most common treatments for Alzheimer's disease involve drugs that inhibit the activity of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Drugs, called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, increase the levels of acetylcholine, which is believed to promote healthy cognition and memory. The effects of these treatments are modest, however, and do not stop neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's; Therefore, they are not a cure for the disease.

Video credits to Neuroscientifically Challenged YouTube channel


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2-Minute Neuroscience: Alzheimer’s Disease

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