Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Glossary of Alzheimer's Disease Terms


Durable power of attorney: A legal document that allows an individual an opportunity to authorize another person, usually a trusted family member or friend, to make legal decisions when the person is no longer able to make legal decisions for himself.

Durable power of attorney for health care: A legal document that allows an individual to appoint another person to make all decisions regarding health care, including choices regarding health care providers, medical treatment, and, in later stages of the disease, end-of-life decisions.

Dysphasia: The inability to find the right word or understand the meaning of a word.

Early-onset Alzheimer's disease: An unusual form of Alzheimer's disease in which individuals are diagnosed with the disease before age 65. Less than 10% of all Alzheimer's disease patients have early onset disease. Early onset Alzheimer's disease sometimes is associated with abnormalities in genes located on chromosomes 1, 14, and 21.

Early stage: The beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease, when an individual experiences very mild to moderate cognitive impairments.

Elder law attorney: An attorney who practices in the specialized area of law focusing on issues that typically affect older adults.

Electrocardiogram (ECG): A recording of the electrical activity of the heart.

Electroencephalogram (EEG): A procedure that measures the amount and type of brain wave activity using electrodes placed on the surface of the scalp.

Environment: The physical and interpersonal surroundings that can affect mood and behavior in people with dementia.

Enzyme: A protein produced by living organisms that promotes or influences chemical reactions.

Estrogen: A sex hormone produced by the ovaries and testes. Estrogen is also important for maintaining normal brain function and development of nerve cells.

Excitotoxicity: The over-stimulation of nerve cells by nerves. Excitotoxicity often leads to cell damage or cell death.

Executor: The person named in a will who manages the estate of the deceased individual.

Familial Alzheimer's disease: A form of Alzheimer's disease that runs in families.

Free-standing, dementia-specific care center: A facility solely dedicated to the care of people with dementia. The facility can sometimes be part of a larger campus.

Functional capabilities: What a person is able to do.

Gait: A person's manner of walking. People in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease often have a "reduced gait," which means their ability to lift their feet as they walk has diminished.

Gene: The basic unit of heredity found in all cells. Each gene occupies a certain location on a chromosome.

Genetic counseling: A process in which a genetic counselor obtains a complete family and personal medical history in order to determine the probable existence of a genetic problem occurring and reoccurring within a family.

Genetic susceptibility: The state of being more likely than the average person to develop a disease as the result of genetics.

WebMD Medical Reference

Today on WebMD

alzheimer's disease warning signs
Alzheimers Overview
Best Memory Boosting Games
mri scan of human brain
senior man
daughter and father
Making Diagnosis
Colored mri of brain
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
senior woman with lost expression
Woman comforting ailing mother
Alzheimers Dementia