Human Anatomy & Physiology (9th Edition)

Published by Pearson
ISBN 10: 0321743261
ISBN 13: 978-0-32174-326-8

Chapter 12 - The Central Nervous System - Review Questions - Critical Thinking and Clinical Application Questions - Page 481: 2


CTQ #2. Mrs. Jones has Alzheimer's disease.

Work Step by Step

Alzheimer's is a neurological disease characterized by a slow, but progressive, loss of memory, and of motor control. As the disease progresses, CNS neurons die due to the formation of " neurofibrillary tangles". This happens because tau protein molecules abandon their role of stabilizing microtubules, and instead form tau molecular complexes. As neurons die, the brain naturally shrinks; in the hippocampus and the basal fore brain the disruption of normal functioning results in loss of memory ( hippocampus) and cognitive capacities ( basal forebrain). The dysfunction in these regions of the brain has been correlated with decline in available levels of the cholinergic neurotransmitter acetylcholine(ACH). Normally, the basal forebrain neurons produce abundant amounts of ACH. It appears, therefore, that the deficit of ACH is due to more than normal rates of destruction of the neurotransmitter by the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. Treatment of Mrs jones with acetylcholinesterase inhibitor would slow the rate of ACH destruction in her brain, and give the neurotransmitter more time to induce normal neural stimuli transmission through her cranial circuits. This expected effect of ACHe inhibitor should therefore slowly improve Mrs Jones memory and her motor control-- to a greater or lesser degree.
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