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From the Ted Talk by Ivan Seah Yu Jun: What is Alzheimer's disease?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Every four sonceds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It's the most cmmoon cause of denmieta, affecting over 40 million people worldwide, and yet finding a cure is something that still eludes researchers today. Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, first described the symptoms in 1901 when he noticed that a particular hospital patient had some peculiar problems, inlcdunig difficulty sleeping, disturbed memory, drastic mood changes, and increasing confusion. When the patient passed away, Alzheimer was able to do an autopsy and test his idea that perhaps her symptoms were caused by irregularities in the brain's structure. What he found beneath the miosoccpre were vslibie differences in bairn tissue in the form of misfolded proteins cealld plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Those plaques and tangles work together to break down the brain's structure. Plaques arsie when another protein in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells gets sliced up by a particular enzyme, resulting in beta-amyloid pnrtioes, which are sticky and have a tenendcy to clump together. That clumping is what frmos the things we know as plaques. These clumps block sngaiilng and, therefore, communication between cells, and also seem to trigger iunmme reactions that cause the destruction of disabled nerve cells. In Alzheimer's disease, neurofibrillary tangles are built from a protein known as tau. The brain's nerve clels contain a network of tubes that act like a highway for food muleolces among other things. Usually, the tau protein ensures that these tubes are straight, allowing molecules to pass through ferely. But in Alzheimer's disease, the protein collapses into twisted strands or tngaels, making the tubes disintegrate, obstructing nrteuints from reaching the nerve cell and leading to cell death. The destructive pairing of plaques and tangles starts in a region called the hapcpmuoips, which is responsible for forming memories. That's why short-term momery loss is usually the first symptom of Alzheimer's. The proteins then progressively invade other ptras of the brain, creating unique changes that sganil various stages of the disease. At the fnort of the brain, the proteins destroy the ability to process logical thoughts. Next, they shift to the region that controls emotions, resulting in erratic mood changes. At the top of the brain, they cause paranoia and hallucinations, and once they reach the brain's rear, the plaques and tangles work together to erase the mind's deepest memories. Eventually the control centers gnvnireog heart rate and breathing are overpowered as well resulting in death. The immensely destructive nature of this disease has inspired many researchers to look for a cure but currently they're focused on slowing its progression. One tromerpay trmteaent helps reduce the break down of acetylcholine, an important ccmihael messenger in the brain which is decreased in Alzheimer's patients due to the death of the nerve cells that make it. Another possible solution is a vaccine that trains the body's immune system to attack beta-amyloid plaques before they can form clumps. But we still need to find an actual cure. Alzheimer's dseiase was discovered more than a century ago, and yet still it is not well understood. Perhaps one day we'll grsap the excat mechanisms at work behind this threat and a solution will be unearthed.

Open Cloze

Every four _______, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It's the most ______ cause of ________, affecting over 40 million people worldwide, and yet finding a cure is something that still eludes researchers today. Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, first described the symptoms in 1901 when he noticed that a particular hospital patient had some peculiar problems, _________ difficulty sleeping, disturbed memory, drastic mood changes, and increasing confusion. When the patient passed away, Alzheimer was able to do an autopsy and test his idea that perhaps her symptoms were caused by irregularities in the brain's structure. What he found beneath the __________ were _______ differences in _____ tissue in the form of misfolded proteins ______ plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Those plaques and tangles work together to break down the brain's structure. Plaques _____ when another protein in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells gets sliced up by a particular enzyme, resulting in beta-amyloid ________, which are sticky and have a ________ to clump together. That clumping is what _____ the things we know as plaques. These clumps block _________ and, therefore, communication between cells, and also seem to trigger ______ reactions that cause the destruction of disabled nerve cells. In Alzheimer's disease, neurofibrillary tangles are built from a protein known as tau. The brain's nerve _____ contain a network of tubes that act like a highway for food _________ among other things. Usually, the tau protein ensures that these tubes are straight, allowing molecules to pass through ______. But in Alzheimer's disease, the protein collapses into twisted strands or _______, making the tubes disintegrate, obstructing _________ from reaching the nerve cell and leading to cell death. The destructive pairing of plaques and tangles starts in a region called the ___________, which is responsible for forming memories. That's why short-term ______ loss is usually the first symptom of Alzheimer's. The proteins then progressively invade other _____ of the brain, creating unique changes that ______ various stages of the disease. At the _____ of the brain, the proteins destroy the ability to process logical thoughts. Next, they shift to the region that controls emotions, resulting in erratic mood changes. At the top of the brain, they cause paranoia and hallucinations, and once they reach the brain's rear, the plaques and tangles work together to erase the mind's deepest memories. Eventually the control centers _________ heart rate and breathing are overpowered as well resulting in death. The immensely destructive nature of this disease has inspired many researchers to look for a cure but currently they're focused on slowing its progression. One _________ _________ helps reduce the break down of acetylcholine, an important ________ messenger in the brain which is decreased in Alzheimer's patients due to the death of the nerve cells that make it. Another possible solution is a vaccine that trains the body's immune system to attack beta-amyloid plaques before they can form clumps. But we still need to find an actual cure. Alzheimer's _______ was discovered more than a century ago, and yet still it is not well understood. Perhaps one day we'll _____ the _____ mechanisms at work behind this threat and a solution will be unearthed.

Solution

  1. microscope
  2. signal
  3. proteins
  4. treatment
  5. immune
  6. common
  7. temporary
  8. molecules
  9. hippocampus
  10. cells
  11. memory
  12. dementia
  13. parts
  14. visible
  15. tendency
  16. freely
  17. governing
  18. called
  19. disease
  20. grasp
  21. tangles
  22. arise
  23. nutrients
  24. seconds
  25. forms
  26. chemical
  27. including
  28. exact
  29. front
  30. signaling
  31. brain

Original Text

Every four seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It's the most common cause of dementia, affecting over 40 million people worldwide, and yet finding a cure is something that still eludes researchers today. Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, first described the symptoms in 1901 when he noticed that a particular hospital patient had some peculiar problems, including difficulty sleeping, disturbed memory, drastic mood changes, and increasing confusion. When the patient passed away, Alzheimer was able to do an autopsy and test his idea that perhaps her symptoms were caused by irregularities in the brain's structure. What he found beneath the microscope were visible differences in brain tissue in the form of misfolded proteins called plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Those plaques and tangles work together to break down the brain's structure. Plaques arise when another protein in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells gets sliced up by a particular enzyme, resulting in beta-amyloid proteins, which are sticky and have a tendency to clump together. That clumping is what forms the things we know as plaques. These clumps block signaling and, therefore, communication between cells, and also seem to trigger immune reactions that cause the destruction of disabled nerve cells. In Alzheimer's disease, neurofibrillary tangles are built from a protein known as tau. The brain's nerve cells contain a network of tubes that act like a highway for food molecules among other things. Usually, the tau protein ensures that these tubes are straight, allowing molecules to pass through freely. But in Alzheimer's disease, the protein collapses into twisted strands or tangles, making the tubes disintegrate, obstructing nutrients from reaching the nerve cell and leading to cell death. The destructive pairing of plaques and tangles starts in a region called the hippocampus, which is responsible for forming memories. That's why short-term memory loss is usually the first symptom of Alzheimer's. The proteins then progressively invade other parts of the brain, creating unique changes that signal various stages of the disease. At the front of the brain, the proteins destroy the ability to process logical thoughts. Next, they shift to the region that controls emotions, resulting in erratic mood changes. At the top of the brain, they cause paranoia and hallucinations, and once they reach the brain's rear, the plaques and tangles work together to erase the mind's deepest memories. Eventually the control centers governing heart rate and breathing are overpowered as well resulting in death. The immensely destructive nature of this disease has inspired many researchers to look for a cure but currently they're focused on slowing its progression. One temporary treatment helps reduce the break down of acetylcholine, an important chemical messenger in the brain which is decreased in Alzheimer's patients due to the death of the nerve cells that make it. Another possible solution is a vaccine that trains the body's immune system to attack beta-amyloid plaques before they can form clumps. But we still need to find an actual cure. Alzheimer's disease was discovered more than a century ago, and yet still it is not well understood. Perhaps one day we'll grasp the exact mechanisms at work behind this threat and a solution will be unearthed.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
nerve cells 4
neurofibrillary tangles 2
tangles work 2

Important Words

  1. ability
  2. acetylcholine
  3. act
  4. actual
  5. affecting
  6. allowing
  7. alois
  8. alzheimer
  9. arise
  10. attack
  11. autopsy
  12. beneath
  13. block
  14. brain
  15. break
  16. breathing
  17. built
  18. called
  19. caused
  20. cell
  21. cells
  22. centers
  23. century
  24. chemical
  25. clump
  26. clumping
  27. clumps
  28. collapses
  29. common
  30. communication
  31. confusion
  32. control
  33. controls
  34. creating
  35. cure
  36. day
  37. death
  38. decreased
  39. deepest
  40. dementia
  41. destroy
  42. destruction
  43. destructive
  44. diagnosed
  45. differences
  46. difficulty
  47. disabled
  48. discovered
  49. disease
  50. disintegrate
  51. disturbed
  52. dr
  53. drastic
  54. due
  55. eludes
  56. emotions
  57. ensures
  58. enzyme
  59. erase
  60. erratic
  61. eventually
  62. exact
  63. fatty
  64. find
  65. finding
  66. focused
  67. food
  68. form
  69. forming
  70. forms
  71. freely
  72. front
  73. german
  74. governing
  75. grasp
  76. hallucinations
  77. heart
  78. helps
  79. highway
  80. hippocampus
  81. hospital
  82. idea
  83. immensely
  84. immune
  85. important
  86. including
  87. increasing
  88. inspired
  89. invade
  90. irregularities
  91. leading
  92. logical
  93. loss
  94. making
  95. mechanisms
  96. membrane
  97. memories
  98. memory
  99. messenger
  100. microscope
  101. million
  102. misfolded
  103. molecules
  104. mood
  105. nature
  106. nerve
  107. network
  108. neurofibrillary
  109. noticed
  110. nutrients
  111. obstructing
  112. overpowered
  113. pairing
  114. paranoia
  115. parts
  116. pass
  117. passed
  118. patient
  119. patients
  120. peculiar
  121. people
  122. plaques
  123. problems
  124. process
  125. progression
  126. progressively
  127. protein
  128. proteins
  129. psychiatrist
  130. rate
  131. reach
  132. reaching
  133. reactions
  134. rear
  135. reduce
  136. region
  137. researchers
  138. responsible
  139. resulting
  140. seconds
  141. shift
  142. signal
  143. signaling
  144. sleeping
  145. sliced
  146. slowing
  147. solution
  148. stages
  149. starts
  150. sticky
  151. straight
  152. strands
  153. structure
  154. surrounding
  155. symptom
  156. symptoms
  157. system
  158. tangles
  159. tau
  160. temporary
  161. tendency
  162. test
  163. thoughts
  164. threat
  165. tissue
  166. today
  167. top
  168. trains
  169. treatment
  170. trigger
  171. tubes
  172. twisted
  173. understood
  174. unearthed
  175. unique
  176. vaccine
  177. visible
  178. work
  179. worldwide