Current research in Alzheimer’s disease advanced our understanding of the aging process. There has been an increasing awareness of the aging process and the imparities that affect normal cognitive functioning. Moreover, the need to preserve cerebral health is on the rise hence the need to understand somatic and mental disorders associated with old age. Notably, the aging process begins at the time of conception and ends at death hence it is a lifetime process. Distinguishing normal and pathological aging is a complex process and has been aided by the study of Alzheimer disease. Alzheimer’s disease refers to a progressive condition that affects the normal functioning of the memory and other mental processes (Mayo Clinic, 2018 p1). Basically, individuals suffering from the condition experience mild confusion and have difficulty remembering. Eventually, they end up going through dramatic changes in their personality or forgetting certain important people in their lives. Alzheimer’s disease has helped explain why elderly people suffer from memory loss, decreased fluid intelligence, and are more prone to clinical diseases.
Current research in Alzheimer’s disease advances
Aging is often accompanied by stereotypic beliefs of memory problems. Intellectual abilities have been documented to decline during the adult span as well as other basic performances (Taylor, Miller, and Tinklenberg, 1992 p185). Alzheimer’s diseases related research shows there is a correlation between memory and speed changes as individual reach an old age. Everyone in some occasions experiences memory lapse in various instances. For instance, one can forget where they placed their key or the name of a colleague. However, as people grow old, such instances tend to happen more often. In the light of Alzheimer’s disease, research shows that there is normally a ten percent loss in cognitive ability which is more common and faster among older subjects (Taylor, Miller, and Tinklenberg 1992 p190). However, slowing of the cognitive process does not lead to the decline of intellectual performance as most people assume.
Study of Alzheimer’s disease has helped address the assumption that aging is associated with a decline of fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence refers to the ability to effectively and efficiently process information during the period of evaluation while crystallized intelligence is an accumulation of products which go through processing with the help of once knowledge (Maylor, 1994 p105). It is assumed that greater diversity which is characterized by crystalized intelligence, is associated with greater density. However, as individuals reach an older age, processing resources become greatly limited. This shows that although the database for knowledge as people grow old remain intact, the effectiveness and efficiency of using that knowledge becomes compromised (Maylor, 1994 p 106). Alzheimer’s diseases make an individual experience difficulty when making decisions or judgment. For instance, one may experience unexpected driving situations which are associated is impaired processing of the brain. However, study also shows that in regard to general knowledge, older people tend to perform better than younger people due to the amount of time in which they have taken to accumulate that knowledge. Reduction of fluid intelligence does not always happen to people as they age hence some portray effective and efficient brain processing at an older age (Maylor, 1994 p112). Therefore, as an individual age, unless they suffer from mental conditions the brain process is supposed to be as effective as before.
Aging is highly associated with cardiovascular diseases such as cancer, dementia, and diabetes. Additionally, these diseases are associated with the normal aging process and over the years some of the diseases have become very common. The perception of Alzheimer’s has changed from a single entity to a pathological profile which can be attained through various channels. The disease in some cases is passed on to generations through inheritance of mutation of some genes (Mann, 1997 p1079). Unfortunately, the disease does not always take place during old age and can take place even at a young age. Due to damage of tissue at an old age, Alzheimer’s disease is likely to occur and other clinical diseases. However, possession of the gene copy responsible for the diseases increases the chances eight times and creates a ninety percent certainty of being diagnosed with the disease (Mann, 1997 p1079). The study of Alzheimer’s disease, therefore, helps in understanding that as people grow older the likelihood of developing the illness increases. However, it is not a must that a person attains the disease and the notion that older people always suffer from Alzheimer’s disease is often fallacious (Mann, 1997 p1078). Planning and performing familiar tasks become difficult for a person with the disease regardless of their age. For instance activities such as cooking require planning and following particular steps and having Alzheimer’s diseased hinder an individual from performing such tasks. In order to predict the cognitive performance of elderly people, it is important to educate people on health factors that promote a healthy mental process (Christensen et al., 1996 p 78). Some of the most important skills are not always lost until the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease such as the ability to enjoy music, dance, or tell stories.
Old age is accompanied by the various stereotypes that hinders people from understanding the aging process. For instance, it is a common stereotype that elderly people lack knowledge compared to younger people. However, it is clear that as people get older, their knowledge becomes intact but the processing of information may become impaired. Some of the common characteristics associated with elderly people such as loss of memory and change of personality are attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, the chances of attaining the disease are higher among old people due to damaged tissues.