The neurocognitive disorder Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 5 million Americans. Its prevalence is expected to triple by 2060. People affected by Alzheimer’s disease have increasing problems with memory, judgement and doing daily tasks of living as the disease progresses. Various studies have indicated that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and that people with OSA have increased levels of certain biomarkers (e.g., amyloid beta protein) associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have recently noted increased levels of biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s disease in young children with OSA.
Alzheimer’s disease is named after psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer reported his experience with a 51-year-old woman, “Auguste D,” who had what he called “presenile dementia.” Over a five-year period, Dr. Alzheimer recorded her symptoms of progressive cognitive impairment, reduced comprehension and memory, aphasia, disorientation, unpredictable behavior, paranoia, auditory hallucinations and psychosocial impairment. An autopsy of her brain revealed plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which Alzheimer described as follows:
“In the center of an otherwise almost normal cell there stands out one or several fibrils due to their characteristic thickness and peculiar impregnability ... Numerous small miliary foci [now called plaques] are found in the superior layers. They are determined by the storage of a peculiar material in the cortex [now called amyloid beta protein].”
In the rest of this article from the Q2 2019 issue of A2Zzz, Regina Patrick, RPSGT, RST, discusses plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, inflammation and more.
This article is one of four designated CEC articles in this issue of A2Zzz. AAST members who read A2Zzz and claim their credits online by the deadline can earn 2.00 AAST Continuing Education Credits (CECs) per issue – for up to 8.00 AAST CECs per year. AAST CECs are accepted by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) and the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM).
To earn AAST CECs, carefully read the four designated CEC articles and claim your credits online. You must go online to claim your credits by the deadline of Aug. 15, 2019.
After the successful completion of this educational activity, your certificates will be available in the My CEC Portal acknowledging the credits earned.
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