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Alzheimer's Disease - Medical Animation

 

This animation may only be used in support of a single legal proceeding and for no other purpose. Read our License Agreement for details. To license this image for other purposes, click here.

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Item #ANM11034 — Source #1

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Alzheimer's Disease - Medical Animation
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: The brain's cognitive functions include memory, which is the process of information retention and retrieval. Memories form in the hippocampus, which consists of information-processing cells called neurons. Each neuron receives chemical messages from other neurons via dendrites, then converts the message to an electrical charge called an action potential. In the space between them, neurons release stimulatory chemicals called neurotransmitters, which bind with receptors on the receiving cell and transfer information. Alzheimer's disease is a gradual, degenerative brain condition in which neurons in the memory and other cognitive areas of the brain lose function and die, resulting in progressive memory loss first, then difficulties learning and communicating, and, eventually, failing basic functions like breathing. In healthy neurons, enzymes help process a protein called amyloid precursor protein into fragments which help with normal cell function. In Alzheimer's, abnormal enzymatic processing produces fragments that include a sticky peptide called beta amyloid. Beta amyloid accumulates in the extracellular space, forming clumps called amyloid plaques. These clumps block the electrical and chemical connections between neurons. Inside healthy neurons, microtubules and tau proteins form an orderly structure that carries ions and nutrients within the cell. In Alzheimer's, chemical changes inside the neurons damage tau, twisting microtubules abnormally into neurofibrillary tangles, which disrupts ion and nutrient delivery within the cell. As the plaques and tangles multiply throughout brain tissue, neural connections diminish, and the malnourished cells lose function, resulting in widespread neural death, reduced brain mass, and severe cognitive and functional impairment. There is no cure for Alzheimer's, but current treatments include cholinesterase inhibitors, which delay the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important for memory and learning, and antiglutamatergic medications, which regulate the activity of glutamate, another neurotransmitter essential for memory and learning, by blocking excessive glutamate binding to neurons, thus preventing neuronal dysfunction and death. ♪ [music] ♪

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