What Is the Difference Between a Normal Brain and an Alzheimer's Brain?

Confusion and memory loss are common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
A person with Alzheimer's may not be able to comprehend reasoning or logic.
A brain with Alzheimer's will have significantly fewer neurons than a healthy brain.
An Alzheimer's brain contains significantly less neurons than a normal brain.
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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2014
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An Alzheimer's brain differs from that of a healthy brain with a significant reduction of neurons. The Alzheimer's brain will also show a reduced size due to the diminishing production of cells that transmit information. Cognitive abilities are severely compromised because of the physical changes within the brain of a patient with Alzheimer's disease.

In a normal adult brain, there are several billion cells connected to neurological response. With the progression of Alzheimer's however, many of these essential cells that deliver communication for various responses are annihilated. Logic, reasoning, and memory are some of the responses that are jeopardized by disease in an Alzheimer's brain. The Alzheimer's brain may also have a significant amount of plaque in the arterial walls as well.

Those with a healthy brain can perform everyday duties and tasks with relative ease. Communication patterns are clear and coherent. With the Alzheimer's brain, the patient will typically have difficulty with simple tasks and short-term memory. Confusion may set in to a large degree.

In the Alzheimer's brain, the patent's cortex may become severely damaged over time. This layer of cerebrum may become dried up and decayed. A healthy brain's cortex will be able to retain memory recollections and control motor function. Those suffering from Alzheimer's however, may have a cortex that has malfunctioned due to dying tissue.

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Medical scientists who examine the brain affected by Alzheimer's through microscopic slides will often notice changes that differentiate it from that of a normal brain. Scientists may find substances such as high levels of aluminum in the brain of an Alzheimer's patient. Amino acids may be prevalent to a stronger degree as well.

Basically, the difference between a normal brain and an Alzheimer's brain is the way they each will ultimately function. With Alzheimer's, symptoms of confusion marked by memory loss, are only part of the big picture. In this form of frontotemporal dementia, the patient may eventually develop paranoia as well.

A normal brain can appreciate a logical explanation and reasoning of a situation. The person with Alzheimer's however, may wrongfully accuse someone of bad intentions, or not see the situation for what it truly is. It is not uncommon for people afflicted with Alzheimer's to become irrationally suspicious of others' intentions.

While a healthy brain is generally clear and free of lesions, the brain diseased by Alzheimer's may be inflamed. Deterioration due to cell corrosion is another factor seen in the Alzheimer's brain. These may manifest in the form of small or mini-strokes that can be detected through a computed tomography (CT) scan.

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honeybees
Post 4

I know that Alzheimer's can sometimes be hereditary. I know a lady who is quite young that is already living in a nursing home because her Alzheimer's has progressed so quickly.

Her mom was diagnosed with this in her 40's, so they were not really surprised when she started showing signs of dementia at a young age.

I think a certain amount of memory loss in the elderly is normal, but something like Alzheimer's in a young person is very devastating.

I have often wondered how much something like doing puzzles and brain training games really help keep your brain healthy. I am sure it never hurts, but if someone has a genetic disposition towards this, would it really make much of a difference?

sunshined
Post 3

We have a friend in his 50's who is showing early signs of dementia. He has is own business and was always very sharp with numbers and figures. Now he can't even remember his own phone number.

After going through several tests, they said he was negative for Alzheimer's, but yet there have been changes in his brain. They said that from a cognitive standpoint, he should be sitting in the corner drooling.

Sadly, that is about where he is at, and it is very frustrating they haven't been able to figure out the cause. He can't drive any more, can't sleep at night and wanders all over the house.

This has been very hard on his wife as she lives with this every day. Hopefully they will be able to figure out what has caused these changes in his brain and come up with a way to treat it.

golf07
Post 2

Seeing someone going through the stages of dementia is very hard to watch. You feel so helpless to do anything and frustrated at the same time. Sometimes I feel like it is as hard on the caregiver as the person going through it.

My sister helped take care of our aunt who was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer's. This was a hard situation because my aunt kept accusing my sister of stealing things. The family didn't live with her every day, so it took awhile for them to see what was really happening.

My aunt was one of the sweetest people I have ever known, but the toll of Alzheimer's really changed her brain. Later on in life she could be very mean which was so opposite of what she had been like before.

bagley79
Post 1

I have heard more than once that a high amount of aluminum can have a negative effect on our brain. Aluminum is one ingredient that is in many brands of deodorant, which is something people use every day.

I first heard this many years ago, and since then, many studies have shown this to be true. Because of this, I use a natural deodorant that doesn't contain aluminum.

I also think there would be several other factors involved if someone were to begin having dementia symptoms. Just because I use a natural deodorant, it doesn't mean I won't get Alzheimer's. It just means it is one, easy thing I can do that might decrease my odds of getting it.

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