Skip to content

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Glossary of Alzheimer's Disease Terms

Font Size
A
A
A

Below you will find a list of terms and definitions commonly used in association with Alzheimer’s disease.

Abilities: The level at which certain actions and activities can be carried out.

Recommended Related to Alzheimer's

Dealing With Alzheimer's Disease Memory Loss

For John MacInnes, the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease were startling. The retired executive and former pastor in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., first realized something was wrong as he was delivering a PowerPoint presentation to a community group. “Then in mid-sentence, I had problems,” he says. “I had a well-rehearsed script in front of me, but I couldn’t get the words right, couldn’t get them out. That kind of shook me up.” Memory loss and impaired thinking are hallmark symptoms of this disease...

Read the Dealing With Alzheimer's Disease Memory Loss article > >

Acetylcholine: A chemical in the brain, called a neurotransmitter, that appears to be involved in learning and memory. Acetylcholine is greatly diminished in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

Activities of daily living (ADL): Activities that are necessary for everyday living and functioning, such as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, and using the toilet.

Adjuvant therapy: Treatment provided in addition to the primary treatment.

Adult day services: Programs that provide participants with opportunities to interact with others, usually in a community center or dedicated facility. People come and go from the center on a daily basis.

Advance directive (living will): A document written and signed when in "good" health that informs your family and health care providers of your wishes about extended medical treatment in times of emergency.

Adverse reaction: An unexpected effect of drug treatment that may range from minor to serious to life-threatening, such as an allergic reaction.

Aggression: Hitting, pushing, or threatening behavior that may occur when a caregiver tries to help an Alzheimer's patient with daily activities, such as grooming and dressing.

Agitation: Behavior, such as screaming, shouting, complaining, moaning, cursing, pacing, fidgeting, wandering, etc., that is disruptive, unsafe, or interferes with the delivery of care in a particular environment.

Alternative therapies: The use of techniques other than drugs, surgery, or other conventional therapies to treat disease and manage long-term pain. Some common alternative therapies, also called complementary therapies, include the use of herbs, meditation, exercise, magnets, reflexology, massage, and acupuncture.

Alzheimer's disease: A progressive disease in which nerve cells in the brain become damaged and brain matter shrinks, resulting in impaired thinking, behavior, and memory.

Ambulation: The ability to walk and move about freely.

Amyloid: A protein deposit associated with tissue damage and breakdown. Amyloid is found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

Amyloid plaque: Abnormal clusters of dead and dying nerve cells, other brain cells, and amyloid protein fragments.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
 
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
 
senior man
ARTICLE
daughter and father
ARTICLE
 
Making Diagnosis
Article
Colored mri of brain
ARTICLE
 
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
VIDEO
senior woman with lost expression
ARTICLE
 
Woman comforting ailing mother
ARTICLE
Alzheimers Dementia
ARTICLE