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"An irreversible, progressive condition in which nerve cells in the brain degenerate, and the size of the brain decreases." Alzheimers disease is the most common of the neurological diseases which strike the elderly most often. The diagnosis is devastating, as there is no cure and the patient becomes more and more lost in their own world. Having a parent with this disease is like having them die twice--once physically and once where they lose even their memory of their children and become strangers. Cognitive function becomes more erratic while the patient becomes more difficult to deal with physically. They often become belligerent or wanderers who have to be supervised constantly. For caregivers, especially the children, Alzheimers is exhausting. Usually they must be placed in a facility which can care for them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Children deal with guilt while the patient loses more of their cognitive function each day. Diagnosing has changed; doctors now use a simple memory test of about 4 words to remember in an interview which can indicate problems for further investigation.
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