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Alzheimer's Disease Related Terms

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  • Calcium

  • An element taken in through the diet that is essential for a variety of bodily functions, such as neurotransmission, muscle contraction, and proper heart function. Imbalances of calcium can lead to many health problems and can cause nerve cell death.

  • Calcium Channel Blocker

  • A drug that blocks the entry of calcium into cells, thereby reducing activities that require calcium, such as neurotransmission. Calcium channel blockers are used primarily in the treatment of certain heart conditions but are being studied as potential treatments for Alzheimer�s disease.

  • Care Planning

  • A written action plan containing strategies for delivering care that address an individual�s specific needs or problems.

  • Caregiver

  • The primary person in charge of caring for an individual with Alzheimer�s disease, usually a family member or a designated health care professional.

  • Case Management

  • A term used to describe formal services planned by care professionals.

  • Cell

  • The fundamental unit of all organisms; the smallest structural unit capable of independent functioning.

  • Cell Body

  • In nerve cells, the central portion from which axons and dendrites sprout. The cell body controls the life-sustaining functions of a nerve cell.

  • Cell Culture

  • Cells grown in a test tube or other laboratory device for experimental purposes.

  • Cell Membrane

  • The outer boundary of the cell. The cell membrane helps control what substances enter or exit the cell.

  • Central Nervous System (CNS)

  • One of the two major divisions of the nervous system. Composed of the brain and spinal cord, the CNS is the control network for the entire body.

  • Cerebral Cortex

  • The outer layer of the brain, consisting of nerve cells and the pathways that connect them. The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain in which thought processes take place. In Alzheimer�s disease, nerve cells in the cerebral cortex degenerate and die.

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

  • The fluid that fills the areas surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

  • Choline

  • A natural substance required by the body that is obtained from various foods, such as eggs; an essential component of acetylcholine.

  • Choline Acetyltransferase (CAT)

  • An enzyme that controls the production of acetylcholine; appears to be depleted in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer�s disease.

  • Cholinergic System

  • The system of nerve cells that uses acetylcholine as its neurotransmitter and is damaged in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer�s.

  • Cholinesterase

  • An enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, into active parts that can be recycled.

  • Chromosome

  • An H-shaped structure inside the cell nucleus made up of tightly coiled strands of genes. Each chromosome is numbered (in humans, 1-46). Genes on chromosome 1, 14, 19, and 21 are associated with Alzheimer�s disease.

  • Clinical Trials

  • Organized studies that test the value of various treatments, such as drugs or surgery, in human beings.

  • Coexisting Illness

  • A medical condition that exists simultaneously with another, such as arthritis and dementia.

  • Cognitive Abilities

  • Mental abilities such as judgment, memory, learning, comprehension, and reasoning.

  • Cognitive Symptoms

  • In Alzheimer�s disease, the symptoms that relate to loss of thought processes, such as learning, comprehension, memory, reasoning, and judgment.

  • Combativeness

  • Incidents of aggression.

  • Competence

  • A person�s ability to make informed choices.

  • Computed Tomography (CT SCAN)

  • A type of imaging scan that shows the internal structure of a person�s brain. In diagnosing dementia, CT scans can reveal tumors and small strokes in the brain.

  • Conservator

  • In some states, the guardian who manages an individual�s assets.

  • Continuum Of Care

  • Care services available to assist individuals throughout the course of the disease.

  • Controls

  • A group of people or animals that does not receive a treatment or other intervention or that is not affected with the disease being studied. This group is used as a standard to compare any changes in a group that receives treatment or has the disease. In Alzheimer research patients are often compared with controls of the same age (age-matched) to rule out the effects of age on study results.

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

  • A rare, ultimately fatal disorder of infectious or genetic origin that typically causes memory failure and behavioral changes. A recently identified form called "variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)" is the human disorder thought to be caused by eating meat from cattle affected by "mad cow disease" (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). VCJD tends to appear in much younger individuals than those affected by sporadic or inherited Creutzfeldt-Jakob.

  • CT Scan

  • See computed tomography.

  • Cueing

  • The process of providing cues, prompts, hints, and other meaningful information, direction, or instruction to aid a person who is experiencing memory difficulties.

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Alzheimer�s Disease Terms

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