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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

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Glossary of Alzheimer's Disease Terms


Antidepressants: Medications used to treat depression. Antidepressants are not addictive; they do not make you "high" or produce a craving for more.

Antibodies: Specialized proteins produced by the cells of the immune system that counteract specific foreign substances.

Anti-inflammatory drugs: Drugs that reduce inflammation or swelling.

Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension, fear, nervousness, or dread accompanied by restlessness or tension.

Apathy: Lack of interest, concern, or emotion.

Aphasia: Difficulty understanding the speech of others and/or expressing oneself verbally.

Art therapy: A form of therapy that allows people with dementia to express their feelings creatively through art.

Assessment: An evaluation, usually performed by a doctor, of a person's mental, emotional, and social capabilities.

Assisted living facility: A residential care setting that combines housing, support services, and health care for people in the early or middle stages of a disabling disease, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Associated disorders: Other medical or surgical conditions that are present at the same time which may or may not be contributing to the problem at hand.

Asymptomatic: When there are no symptoms or no clear sign that disease is present.

Atrophy: Shrinking in size; often used to describe the loss of brain tissue seen in Alzheimer's disease during an autopsy.

Autonomy: A person's ability to make independent choices.

Autopsy: The examination of a body's tissues and organs after death.

Behavioral neurologist: A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral and memory disorders that are due to brain disease.

Behavioral symptoms: In Alzheimer's disease, emotional symptoms, such as wandering, depression, anxiety, hostility, and sleep disturbances.

Beneficiary: An individual named in a will who is designated to receive all or part of an estate upon the death of the person who made the will.

Binswanger's disease: A type of dementia associated with stroke-related changes in the brain.

Biomarker: Used to indicate or measure a biological process; for example, levels of a specific protein in blood or spinal fluid. Detecting biomarkers specific to a disease can aid in the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of affected individuals, as well as people who may be at risk but who do not yet have symptoms.

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