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Assessing the Risk Factors of Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease

Wilhelm, Caroline Jane
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive memory loss, commonly progressing from failure to recall important names and dates to partial or complete inability to care for oneself. AD is recognized as the most common form of dementia, with dementia being the general term used in addressing diseases of the brain resulting in a decline in cognitive functioning and memory. Risk factors and causes of AD are heavily researched, as the pathology of this disease is very complicated and case-dependent. Common risk factors of AD are continually sleeping too much or too little (less or more than 7-9 hours), poor diet, lack of exercise, untreated mental or physical illness, substance abuse, and more. For this project, common risk factors of AD were evaluated and their prevalence correlated with the severity and onset of an individual with an AD diagnosis. This analysis was done two ways; a survey for family members of a loved one with an AD diagnosis, including questions surrounding the loved one’s diagnosis and habits through their young adult/adult life, and the other being qualitative analysis of credible literature focused on these risk factors. It was hypothesized that those with a higher abundance of risk factors would have an earlier onset of AD and/or experience the disease at a greater severity. Quantitative analysis of literature addressing risk factors of AD and qualitative analysis of the survey responses determined that the major risk factors for AD including sleep duration and quality, social involvement, and overall physical health are relevant across multiple domains. While there are many exceptions and a high rate of unpredictability with this disease, it can be determined there are lifestyle choices and occurrences that place an individual at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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Alzheimer's Disease,Prevention,Risk factors,Diagnosis,Dementia,Cognitive decline,Neuroscience
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