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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

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Glossary of Alzheimer's Disease Terms

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Genetic testing: Certain tests that are ordered by a doctor who specializes in genetics so that the presence of genetic abnormalities may be discovered. For patients and families suspected of having an inherited disease, it may be possible to find the mutation causing the disease through genetic testing of blood.

Genome: All the genes of an organism.

Geriatrician: A doctor who specializes in the medical care and treatment of older adults.

Glucose: A simple sugar that is a major energy source for all cellular and bodily functions. Glucose is obtained through the breakdown, or metabolism, of food in the digestive system.

Guardian: An individual appointed by the courts who is authorized to make legal and financial decisions for another person.

Hallucination: A sensory experience in which a person sees, hears, smells, tastes, or feels something that is not there.

Hippocampus: A part of the brain that is important for learning and memory.

Hoarding: Collecting and putting things away in order to guard them.

Hospice: The philosophy and approach to providing comfort and care at life's end rather than heroic life-saving measures.

Huntington's disease: An inherited brain disease affecting the body that is characterized by mood changes, intellectual decline, and involuntary movement of limbs.

Immune system: The body's natural defense system against infection or disease; a system of cells that protects the body from bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other foreign substances.

Incontinence: Loss of bladder and/or bowel control.

Inflammatory response: The immune system's normal response to tissue injury or abnormal stimulation caused by a physical, chemical, or biological substance.

Late-onset Alzheimer's disease: The most common form of Alzheimer's disease, usually occurring after age 65. Late-onset Alzheimer's disease affects almost half of all people over the age of 85.

Late stage: Designation given when dementia symptoms have progressed to the extent that a person has little capacity for self-care.

Lewy body dementia: A dementing illness associated with protein deposits called Lewy bodies, found in the cortex of the brain.

Living trust: A legal document that allows an individual (the grantor or trustor) to create a trust and appoint someone else as trustee (usually a trusted individual or financial institution) to carefully invest and manage his or her assets.

Living will: A legal document that expresses an individual's decision on the use of artificial life support systems.

Long-term care: A comprehensive range of medical, personal, and social services coordinated to meet the physical, social, and emotional needs of people who are disabled or ill for extended periods of time.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A test that produces high-quality images of the body's internal structures without the use of X-rays. MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce these images.

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