Introduction The Notebook is a novel and film by the best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, which features Rachel McAdams as Allie Hamilton, who is going through Alzheimer’s Disorder. Alzheimer’s, a form of Dementia, is a disease that affects memory and impacts a person’s independence. The movie portrays Allie as having complete memory loss of her past. She is unable to recognize her husband, children, or grandchildren.
Most people affected by this disease, is caused by old age or genetics. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are strategies to delay progression and maximize independence. According to an article from Mayo Clinic, “Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia — a group of brain disorders that cause the loss of intellectual and social skills.
In Alzheimer’s disease, the brain cells degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function.” Main Subject Although Allie’s type of Dementia is never defined in the movie, majority of the audience identifies her of having Alzheimer’s Disorder. Throughout the film, it is apparent that she is gradually regressing and has trouble forming complete thoughts or remembering her family. In the movie, a nurse reminds Allie of her passion of playing piano, in which she is able to remember a piece of music through memory. Tasks once enjoyable to Allie now become impossible after a while. As her disorder progresses, her husband continues to remain hopeful that her memory can be restored. He persists with reading her a journal about their love story, in which she has a moment of clarity, but soon relapses and becomes confused, agitated, and scared and begins yelling out. Description of Disorder According to Mayo Clinic, “Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia, which involves the loss of intellectual and social skills. The brain cells degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function.” Symptoms In the beginnings stages of Alzheimer’s, increasing forgetfulness and confusion may be the only symptoms noticeable. Gradually, memory loss becomes more prevalent, especially recent memories. Common signs of memory loss include, repeated statements and questions, forgetting conversations, getting lost in familiar places, forgetting names of family members or having trouble expressing thoughts. Another effect of Alzheimer’s Disorder includes changes in personality and behavior. People with Alzheimer’s can experience depression, apathy, social withdrawal, mood swings, irritability, aggressiveness, changes in sleeping habits, wandering or delusions.
Many abilities, such as reading, dancing, singing, crafts, etc. are not lost until the very last stages in the disorder. Engaging in these abilities can foster success and maintain quality of life. Literature Review There are many known causes of Alzheimer’s, the most common being age, according to Mayo Clinic. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases greatly after age 65 and doubles after every decade after age 60. Other factors causing Alzheimer’s is family history or genetics, along with lifestyle and health. Risk runs higher if a parent or sibling has had the disorder. Some evidence suggests that the factors leading to heart disease, can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disorder.
Examples include lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes or poor diet. These risk factors are also linked to Vascular Dementia, caused by damaged blood vessels in the brain. Treatment Current Alzheimer’s medications can help temporarily with memory loss and other cognitive changes. Two types of drugs can be used to treat cognitive symptoms, including Cholinesterase Inhibitors, which boost levels of cell-to-cell communication using a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Another drug commonly used is Memantine, which works to improve brain cell communication and is often used with a cholinesterase inhibitor. Sometimes other drugs such as antidepressants or antianxiety medications to decrease confusion and risk of falls. To aid in well-being and ability to function, keep environment safe and clutter free, keeping valuable in a safe place and engaging in abilities to ensure memory cognition. Some alternative treatments being studied include omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E to be beneficial in preventing cognitive decline.
Conclusion Based on the information in this paper, the character in The Notebook meets the criteria for Alzheimer’s Disorder, by depicting the effects of Alzheimer’s on patient’s as well as their caregivers. Allie is portrayed by having long term memory loss as well as short term memory loss. In the later stages, it is common for those effected by this disorder to lose their ability to perform activities, causing agitation and confusion. The Notebook serve as a platform for discussions regarding Alzheimer’s and the importance of slowing disease or disorder progression.