Alzheimer's disease is believed to affect more than 5 million Americans. Although the cause is not ...
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Alzheimer's disease is believed to affect more than 5 million Americans. Although the cause is not known, the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease result from degradation of nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. The human body produces protein fragments called amyloid. In a healthy brain, protein fragments called beta amyloid are broken down and eliminated. In Alzheimer's disease, these fragments accumulate into hard plaque. The plaques accumulate between nerve cells and inhibit transmission of signals between nerve cells. Another major change in Alzheimer's disease is the formation of twisted fibers called neurofibrillary tangles inside the neurons; formation of the tangles results in death of these nerve cells.