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PSY FPX 7310 Assessment 3 Alzheimer’s disease


Capella University

PSY FPX 7310 Biological Basis of Behavior

Prof. Name


Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia marked by cognitive impairments that affect memory, perception, and judgment (Carlson, 2014). Various physical causes, such as brain trauma or strokes, alongside other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, can trigger its onset (Carlson, 2014).

Early indicators of dementia might include simple forgetfulness, such as missing appointments or losing items, which can advance to more severe memory loss, like forgetting familiar places or even one’s identity (Carlson, 2014). Early detection of Alzheimer’s is crucial. Genetic predispositions and asymmetrical brain structures, identifiable through comparative MRI imaging, might provide insights into future risks (Mayo Clinic, 2019).

Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on Brain Structure and Function

Alzheimer’s disease significantly impacts brain function, particularly affecting the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, which are crucial for memory formation (Brayne & Calloway, 2008). The degeneration also affects neural pathways responsible for emotions, problem-solving, and communication (Whitehouse, Maurer, & Ballenger, 2000). These structural changes in the brain can result in symptoms like paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations (University of Queensland, 2019).

Effects of Brain Changes on Learning and Memory

As Alzheimer’s advances, atrophy in subcortical structures such as the cerebellum disrupts cognitive processes, leading to forgetfulness and slowed thinking (Barulli & Stern, 2018). Damage to neurotransmitters hampers learning and memory retention, with senile plaques in the brain’s grey matter further impeding information processing (Whitehouse, Maurer & Ballenger, 2000). The disease affects different types of memory, from short-term to procedural, causing language difficulties and challenges in completing tasks (Holger, 2013).

Behavioral Impacts of Brain Changes

Alzheimer’s disease profoundly alters behavior, leading to emotional instability and aggression due to damage to the amygdala (Page, 2019). Damage to the frontal lobe contributes to impulsive actions or obsessive-compulsive behaviors (Holger, 2013). These changes often occur without external triggers, impacting patients’ interactions and daily routines (Holger, 2013).

Recent Advances in Alzheimer’s Research

Recent research has focused on early diagnosis through biomarkers, aiming to identify hippocampal atrophy and genetic risk factors such as Apolipoprotein E4 (ApolE4) (Holger, 2013). Cognitive training techniques and targeted treatments offer hope for managing symptoms and delaying cognitive decline (Holger, 2013).

Professional Relevance of Research Findings

Understanding the latest findings on Alzheimer’s disease provides professionals with essential insights for diagnosis and treatment planning. Identifying biomarkers and assessing genetic risks allow for early interventions, improving patient care and quality of life (Holger, 2013).

PSY FPX 7310 Assessment 3 Alzheimer’s disease


Barulli, D., & Stern, Y. (2018). Cognitive reserve: Theory, measurement, and evidence. In G. E. Smith & S. T. Farias (Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology®: APA handbook of dementia (pp. 357–368). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Brayne, C., & Calloway, P. (2008). Normal ageing, impaired cognitive function, and senile dementia of the Alzheimer’s type: A continuum. The Lancet, 331, 1265.

Fernandez, C. G., Hamby, M. E., McReynolds, M. L., & Ray, W. (2019). The role of APOE4 in disrupting the homeostatic functions of astrocytes and microglia in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 11.

Mayo Clinic. (2019). Dementia. Retrieved from

Pistolato, F., Ohayon, E., Lamm, A., Langley, G., Novak, T., Pamies, D., & Harnad, D. (2016). Alzheimer disease research in the 21st century: Past and current failures, new perspectives and funding priorities. Oncotarget, 7, 38999.

Tartaglia, M. C., Rosen, H. J., & Miller, B. L. (2011). Neuroimaging in dementia. Neurotherapeutics, 8, 82–92.

PSY FPX 7310 Assessment 3 Alzheimer’s disease

University of Queensland. (2019). What causes dementia? Retrieved from

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