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What Happens with Brain in Alzheimer’s Disease

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Alzheimer’s is a very dangerous disease, which consists of the fact that the patient’s brain is damaged, and because of this, the patient loses some cognitive abilities.

Over time, patients cannot take care of themselves, respond to others, and maintain social ties. However, there are reasons for this in the form of changes occurring in the patient’s brain.

Certain brain cells die and lead to dementia. In Alzheimer’s disease, most often the first cells in the brain responsible for memory begin to die. Therefore, the first signs of the disease may be memory loss and difficulty in remembering new information.

In this article, we will look at exactly how Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain, which parts of the brain are damaged, and how it affects the patient’s behavior.


How Does Alzheimer’s Affect the Brain?

Consider how Alzheimer’s disease affects the patient’s brain and life:

  • The brain shrinks during the healthy aging process, but it doesn’t lose a lot of neurons. In Alzheimer’s patients, brain damage causes neurons to stop functioning correctly, lose contact with other neurons, and eventually die.
  • Alzheimer’s disease negatively affects the functioning of neurons in the brain, and destroys their connections, maintaining the necessary metabolism and recovery.
  • At the very beginning of its appearance, Alzheimer’s disease destroys neurons and their connections with each other in those parts of the brain that are responsible for memory. These areas of the brain are the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus.
  • Alzheimer’s spreads to those parts of the cerebral cortex responsible for language, speech, thinking, and behavior. Gradually, the disease covers other parts of the brain, which leads to the fact that the patient loses his ability to work, and aggravation of the condition can lead to death.


How Does Alzheimer’s Affect the Brain

Main Characteristics of the Alzheimer’s Brain 

In Alzheimer’s disease, most often, the first cells in the brain responsible for memory begin to die. Main Characteristics of the Alzheimer’s Brain include:

  • Amyloid plaques
  • Neurofibrillary plexus
  • Chronic Inflammation‎
  • Changes in the functioning of the vessels of the brain
  • Cell death and disruption of neural connections

Many molecular and cellular changes occur in the brain of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. These changes are evident during an examination of the brain under a microscope after the patient’s death. Until now, experts are researching which brain changes can provoke the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and which are the result of the disease.

Let’s take a closer look at a patient’s brain with Alzheimer’s disease.

1. Amyloid plaques

The development of Alzheimer’s disease is provoked by the breakdown of a large amyloid precursor protein, resulting in the appearance of beta-amyloid protein.

For example, beta-amyloid 42 is a hazardous type of amyloid.

When examining the brain of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, aggregations of abnormal levels of this protein can be noted, as a result of which plaques form. They accumulate between neurons, thereby disrupting the normal functioning of cells. To date, experts continue to investigate at what stage Alzheimer’s forms of beta-amyloid begin to affect the brain.

2. Neurofibrillary plexus

These tangles are abnormal collections of a protein called tau. Tau accumulates inside neurons. 

  • As a rule, healthy neurons are supported by structures – microtubules. These structures direct nutrients and molecules from the cell body to the axons and dendrites. In a person without Alzheimer’s, tau binds to microtubules and helps them stabilize.
  • However, in Alzheimer’s patients, chemical damage triggers tau, which begins to detach from microtubules and attach to other tau molecules to form filaments. In the end, the strands are connected, which gives rise to tangles inside the neurons. The tangles interfere with the normal functioning of the transport system of neurons, which disrupts the synaptic connection between them.

Research suggests that the brain with Alzheimer’s disease may be driven by a complex interaction between abnormal and tau and beta-amyloid proteins.

Most likely, the abnormal tau is skewed in certain brain parts associated with memory functioning.

3. Chronic Inflammation‎

Experts note that chronic inflammation can be triggered by the accumulation of glial cells.

These cells are essential to keep the brain free of debris. In Alzheimer’s disease, one type of glial cell, the microlonia, fails to clear the waste and unwanted proteins.

4. Changes in the functioning of the brain vessels 

Usually, patients with dementia have problems related to other organs. As a rule, along with Alzheimer’s disease, the patient suffers from vascular problems, arteriosclerosis, and a mini-stroke.

Alzheimer’s disease is both a cause and a result of vascular disease. Researchers continue to work on ways to break this cycle of problems.

5. Cell death and disruption of neural connections

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease experience neuronal damage and death throughout the brain. The connections established between neurons are destroyed, and as a result of which many parts of the brain begin to shrink. In the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, brain atrophy occurs, leading to significant losses in brain volume.‎


Alzheimer’s Brain vs Normal Brain

If we look at the brains of two people, one of whom has Alzheimer’s disease, and the other is healthy, we can notice significant differences between the two brains. 

Let’s look at a few points that will help us understand the difference between the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient and a healthy patient:

  • The brain of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is much smaller than the brain of a healthy person. This is because, in Alzheimer’s disease, the brain gradually shrinks to one-third of its standard size. And also, if you look at a healthy human brain, its folds are full and close enough to each other.
  • In a patient with Alzheimer’s, the brain folds are much narrower than in the brain of a healthy person, and the gaps between the folds are much broader.
  • The patient’s neurons die, and plaque builds up in areas like the hippocampus.
  • Alzheimer’s disease starts in the hippocampus. This part of the brain is responsible for memory and thinking.
  • The brain of a healthy person metabolizes a chemical called amyloid precursor protein. In Alzheimer’s patients, the amyloid precursor protein is converted into a beta-amyloid protein. This protein does not cleanse the brain. Clots form in the patient’s brain that sticks between neurons and damage them.
  • People with Alzheimer’s often have abnormal tangles of a protein called tau. This protein is found inside neurons in healthy people. However, in Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid-beta interacts with tau proteins. This gives rise to the appearance of abnormal protein clumps and tangles. As a result, plaques form in the brain, areas of repaired neurons, and brain death.

Brain with Alzheimer's disease


How Does the Brain with Alzheimer’s Disease Affect Behaviour?

If the patient’s behavior changes, it is worth paying attention to this, as this may signal damage to any parts of the brain. Let’s take a closer look at how Alzheimer’s brain damage affects a patient’s behavior.

1. Limbic system

This part of the brain is damaged when a patient with Alzheimer’s disease is in the early stage. The limbic system is responsible for memory, emotions, and associating behavior with emotions. This system controls feelings and basic physical needs such as sleep and food.

What behavioral changes may be noticeable in a patient with damage to the limbic system:

  • Deterioration of memory;
  • Forgetfulness;
  • Suspiciousness;
  • Anxiety;
  • Depression;
  • Irritability.

2. Frontal lobe

The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for initiating the activity. The frontal lobe helps to plan and organize any actions. It also regulates a person’s judgments, as well as their behavior.

So, for example, with the help of the frontal lobe, the following happens:

  • Understanding what behavior is appropriate in a particular situation;
  • Analysis of the feelings of people around;
  • Analysis of one’s actions.

Symptoms of damage to the brain’s frontal lobe can have patients with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Apathy;
  • Stop social activities;
  • Rapid cessation of interest in various activities;
  • Repeating the same action.

3. Hippocampus and temporal lobes

The hippocampus is the place in the brain where verbal and visual memory processing takes place.

  • Verbal memory is expressed in the form of memories that are associated with information obtained through reading, listening, and speaking.
  • Visual memory allows a person to recognize objects such as faces and places. The temporal lobes are responsible for learning new things, as well as for the work of short-term memory.

Symptoms of damage to the temporal lobe of the brain that can have a patient with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Memory loss;
  • Reducing the number of words used;
  • The patient does not recognize familiar faces and loses orientation in space.

4. Parietal lobes

The parietal lobes serve to help a person in such areas as:

  • Dressing;
  • Using tools or performing necessary tasks that require logical actions such as driving a car.

Symptoms of damage to the parietal lobes of the brain:

  • Poor orientation in space;
  • Memory loss;
  • Incorrect use of words;
  • Difficulties with expressing thoughts in writing;
  • Difficulties with processing invoices;
  • Loss in space;
  • Violation of coordination in space.

Symptoms that can have patients with Alzheimer’s may vary depending on which side of the brain has been damaged.

5. Occipital lobe

This part of the brain is responsible for vision. The occipital lobe of the brain allows you to see and combine colors, shapes of objects, and their movements. The brain’s occipital lobe is not involved in Alzheimer’s disease; however, some visual areas can be damaged to affect vision.


Lone Star Neurology Clinic is always ready to provide professional medical care

Alzheimer’s disease is a dangerous condition. Alzheimer’s disease does bad things to the brain of patients, affecting their performance, cognitive functions, and behavior. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but a doctor’s prescription can help a patient stabilize the condition and keep it from worsening for as long as possible. If someone has this or another disease, visit our clinic’s website. Call us at (214) 619-1910, and make an appointment.

We treat various neurological disorders such as:

It is not a complete list we can help with; our neurologists deal with many diseases.

Go to our website to read more about our clinic. Check out the blog with many helpful articles about different diseases, their diagnosis, and treatment.



  • What happens when you have Alzheimer’s disease?

As Alzheimer’s disease worsens, the condition of patients deteriorates significantly. Symptoms include memory and several other cognitive problems such as loss of orientation in space, asking the same questions, difficulty performing everyday tasks, and changes in character and behavior.

  • What are Alzheimer’s effects on the body?

In addition to the fact that Alzheimer’s disease negatively affects the patient’s cognitive abilities, it can also negatively affect changes in the body. For example, a patient with Alzheimer’s disease may experience impaired movement, problems with body coordination, shaking or heaviness in the body, weight loss, coughing, and choking.

  • What happens with the brain of someone with dementia?

If a patient has dementia, the connections between the networks of neurons can be destroyed and many areas of the brain begin to shrink, after which the neurons in their brain become damaged and die. In the end, atrophy of the brain occurs, which causes a significant loss of brain volume.

  • What is the difference between Alzheimer’s brain and a normal brain?

A healthy brain metabolizes a chemical called amyloid precursor protein (APP). However, in patients with Alzheimer’s, APP is converted to a protein called beta-amyloid. In this case, the brain does not clean up this protein. Instead, the proteins form clumps and tangles that stick together between neurons and damage them.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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