Tuesday, August 11, 2009

sorry folks

I was in a car accident on friday, I should be posting daily again next monday. Thanks

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Alzheimer's Disease

Today's subject is one that is unfortunately close my heart. Just about everyone I know has a family member suffering from this disease and I am no exception. My grandma is entering the middle stages of Alzheimer's and I cannot just sit back and watch. Since doing nothing is not an option I've signed up for an Alzheimer's walk in not just her honor but for everyone who's family is being hurt by this painful disease. If anyone reading out there would like to donate to this cause just follow this link and you'll be directed to the foundation's secure website. http://ErieCountyWalk.kintera.org/jenniferleib

Alzheimer's disease is an incurable, degenerative, terminal disease first described in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer. The earliest observable symptoms are stress and memory loss. Memory loss is often mild at first, usually forgetting recently learned things. More advanced symptoms include confusion, aggression, withdrawal, and mood swings as well as long-term memory loss.

Signs of alzheimer's can appear years before an official alzheimer's diagnosis, these signs are memory loss in the form of decreased ability to absorb new information along with a sense of apathy. As things progress to an official diagnosis, memory loss becomes more apparent and problems with language and movement occur. At this stage it is mostly newer memories that are impaired by the disease. Fine motor skills are also affected, making the patient clumsy.

The moderate stage of alzheimer's disease make it difficult for the patient to live on their own. They begin losing their vocabulary, this causes frequent incorrect word substitutions as reading and writing skills are lost. The patient may no long recognize their close family members and lose the ability to perform complex tasks. Their long term memory begins to fade and behavioral changes become more apparent. Mood swings such as agression or crying begin to occur.

In the final stages of alzheimer's disease the patient is completely dependant. They lose most of their speech and sometimes all language. Most patients display apathy instead of aggression as with the less advanced stages. Eventually the patient cannot take care of themselves at all and either the brain loses control of basic function or they pass away because of other diseases due to a weakened immune system.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pseudoscience Saturday! - Phrenology

I've decided that every saturday I'm going to talk about some silly old pseudoscience and if I have time during the day put up a regular post too. Today's post is about phrenology, the study of skull shape.

Phrenology all started in 1796 with a scientist named Franz Gall, phrenology remained in the realm of real science all the way until the 1900s. Phrenology is based on the concept that the mind has localized areas that do specific things, these areas are also called modules. Phrenologists believe that the size of the modules showed different aspects of a person's personality. The reason they believed this is that it was assumed that the importance a person gave to each specific module made it larger or smaller. Under these beliefs it was possible to map out a person's personality by measuring different areas of their skull. Gall believed that there were 27 specific modules in the brain and during a screening the phrenologist would feel a person's skull to map out and measure all 27 modules. Back in it's prime, phrenology was used to predict the future lives of children, screen potential job applicants and size up potential marriage partners.