Understanding alzheimer disease

M. Vally*, F. Kathrada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Alzheimer disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with an uncertain pathogenesis. It is characterised by symptoms of memory impairment, executive dysfunction and visuospatial impairment. Management goals and interventions should be based on a solid alliance with the patient and family and on thorough psychiatric, neurological and general medical evaluations of the nature and cause of cognitive deficits and associated non-cognitive symptoms. There are currently three cholinesterase inhibitors and one N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist indicated in the treatment of AD as monotherapy or in combination. Cholinesterase inhibitors remain the first-line therapy in patients with mild to moderate AD, which may stabilise the symptomatic cognitive and functional decline. Other pharmacotherapy options include the use of memantine which may be used by itself or in combination with cholinesterase inhibitors. These treatments are for symptomatic relief and are not disease modifying in preventing the progression of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalSouth African Family Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Dementia
  • Management of Alzheimer disease
  • Risk factors
  • Treatment of dementia


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