Conditions InDepth: Alzheimer Disease
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Alzheimer disease is a disorder of the brain. It leads to a loss of the ability to think, reason, and remember. Symptoms can change from day to day, but over time the disease worsens. Alzheimer dementia is when a person is no longer able to care for him or herself.
The cause is not clear. Brain cells stop working and begin to die. It may be due to a mix of genes, environment, and overall health.
Two known things that play a role are:
These changes often begin in areas of the brain that store memory. This damage may start several years before the first symptoms appear.
Alzheimer dementia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/alzheimer-dementia. Updated August 9, 2019. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet. Updated April 2, 2018. Accessed October 8, 2019.
Atri A. The Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Spectrum: Diagnosis and Management. Med Clin North Am. 2019 Mar;103(2):263-293.
What is Alzheimer's? Alzheimer’s Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 8, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 12/15/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.