With Alzheimer’s disease now afflicting more than 5 million Americans, most people are familiar with the common characteristics of the disease which can begin as mild forgetfulness and progress to more serious symptoms such as difficulty with thinking, loss of language skills, mental confusion and severe memory loss.
But a good deal of misunderstanding about the disease persists, including what causes the mental decline and how the brain is affected as Alzheimer’s progresses.
Scientists still do not know exactly how and why the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients becomes so damaged over time. However, scientists have identified that Alzheimer’s sufferers experience two main types of nerve damage caused by structures called tangles and plaques.
This brief animated video provides an explanation of how these tangles and plaques progressively affect different parts of the brain, affecting more and more brain functioning over time. This simple 3-minute illustration may help those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s understand what their loved one is going through.