Alzheimer's Disease

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Updated on Mar 07, 2013

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Neuroscience/Biology

To investigate a variety of sources and prepare a script for a television program to educate the public on Alzheimer`s Disease, “What We Know About Alzheimer`s Disease and How Do We Treat It?

  • What is Alzheimer`s disease?
  • What are the early symptoms of mild Alzheimer`s disease?
  • What are the symptoms of moderate Alzheimer`s disease?
  • What happens in severe cases?
  • What eventually happens to the patient?
  • What causes Alzheimer`s disease?
  • How is Alzheimer`s treated today?
  • What happens inside the brain during this disease?
  • What is the hippocampus and how is it affected in this disease?
  • What causes the shrinking and inflammation of the brain?
  • What role does genetics play in this disease? Do we inherit it?
  • What has lifestyle to do with it?
  • How is Alzheimer`s diagnosed?
  • To what extent has CT (computerized tomography) or MRI 9magnetic resononance imaging helped in our search for diagnosis or for a possible cure?
  • How do we help people with the disease?
  • How do we support families and caregivers in the case of Alzheimer’s to carry on and not lose hope?

On the information level, you will learn about a disease in which the brain no longer functions at full capacity, where memory begins to fail, where dementia becomes apparent. This specific disease which strikes as many as 5.1 million elderly American people is a major area of current research. This is an abnormal sickness, Alzheimer`s disease and is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who first observed the symptoms in one of his patients namely, the loss of memory, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After his patient died, he examined her brain and found plaques and tangled neurons. He also discovered a loss of connections between nerve cells in the brain. This was only the beginning.

In this project, you are to take on the role of a movie producer who has been asked by the local television company to create a script for a short movie on Alzheimer`s Disease. The purpose is to educate the public in your community on the key aspects of the disease, what it is, what is presently being done in the field of brain research to alleviate the symptoms and to delay the disease. In addition you are asked to provide advice to people who have loved ones with the disease to assist them in helping both the victims and themselves in coping with the disease.You will be researching Alzheimer`s disease and using all of information and visuals such as movies on the internet, as well as accounts by people of how they coped with their parents battle with the disease. You will also provide the public with information as to how they could help as volunteers and as contributors to this cause.

Although this is a science fair project, who knows, when you complete the script you may wish to send it to the local TV channel, we might both be presently surprised!

  • Texts in the neurosciences
  • Articles in professional magazines and research studies directly related to investigations in the neurosciences on brain physiology and functioning as well as the use of internet sources, foundations, organizations and individuals with real life experiences in dealing with victims of the disease.
  • Tape recorder
  • Tape
  • Camera
  • Tape player

  1. Start by researching the questions provided as the Research Questions using them as an outline.
  2. Use the list of books, article, and web sites which are listed in the bibliography as the major sources of your data.
  3. Investigate the movies provided on the internet and request permission to take still shots of some of the scenes for this report. Contact them and tell them what you are doing and ask for their cooperation.
  4. Make certain to list some of the agencies and foundations that provide assistance to families who are caretakers of Alzheimer`s victims.
  5. In terms of the victims and their families, you may want to include some of their stories in your “movie.” b y asking them if you can tape the story as they speak with you. What is important in your movie is to show or describe the major damage this disease produces in destroying peoples ‘lives. You may also want to protect and respect their anonminity by giving them a false name.
  6. In your movie list all of the sources and resources you used in the research.
  7. Now, write up your “report” which consists of your movie script, namely all the frames you will show providing a complete account of what we presently know about Alzheimer`s disease, how we are diagnosing it, treating it, what the victims and their loved ones are experiencing, identifying the agencies and foundations which are working to make progress in combating its progression and who are providing aid for those who hope to survive its ongoing damage.
  8. Using your three sectional display board, mount all of the frames of your movie. Place your bibliography next to it. If you have taped someone`s story of coping with Alzheimer`s disease, have a tape player available with ear phones for the public to use.
  9. Congratulations on a job well done. Believe me when I say, in doing this project you have indeed done a great service to your community.

Terms/Concepts: Dementia; Brain; Cerebrum; Cerebral hemispheres; Neurons; Synapses; Dendrites; Plaques; Amyloidal plaques; Neurofibrillary tangles; Alzheimer`s disease

References:

Dr. Muriel Gerhard (Ed.D.) is a retired educator with fifty seven years of experience in all aspects of public education. She has been a teacher, principal, administrator, college professor, researcher, grants writer, change agent and science editor. She is the author of several books on education used as college texts. These include the best selling Effective Teaching Strategies with the Behavioral Outcomes Approach and The Behavioral Outcomes Handbook for Teachers and Administrators. Presently she is a consultant in science education and curriculum development, a marriage and family therapist, a newspaper columnist and an author. Her latest book, recently published, is a memoir of sixty vignettes entitled "Now That I`m Dead, I Decided to Write this Book".

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