CATHERINE POUEDRAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CATHERINE POUEDRAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alzheimer's disease: elderly man in a nursing home hides his face with his hand. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in old age. The disease progresses through memory disorders, changes in personality, confusion & disorientation; sensory & motor functions tend to be spared until the late stages. Brain degeneration is characterized by the presence of tangled proteins (neurofibrillary tangles) inside nerve cell bodies & extracellular plaques of a particular protein, beta-amyloid. Alzheimer's is incurable: prevention by maintenance of physical & mental fitness, or diet, is not yet proven.
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