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Glen Campbell Forgets Guitar Skills, Says Wife Kim: Why Alzheimer's Patients Lose Memories

Update Date: Apr 15, 2016 04:34 AM EDT
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The legendary country singer, Glen Campbell, who was once rocking the world with his famous songs, rocked the world once again when he shared that he has an Alzheimer's during the first stages of the disease.

According to Huffington Post, Campbell still managed to perform after announcing his condition. Together with his daughter, Ashley and son, Shannon, they toured the country playing his songs. Their last performance was in Napa Valley. Now, Campbell's Alzheimer's disease took away his guitar skills.

Alzheimer's disease makes people forget everything such as names, address, skills, memories and even their loved ones. One of the questions about the disease is: why Alzheimer's patients lose memories?

The memories created by the brain are being registered in the part of the brain called the hippocampus. It will then send those memories into the brain storage, which retrieves the memory. The hippocampus is the first to get damaged when Alzheimer's starts. Since this part of the brain does not remember, it can't help in retrieving memories, shared AgingCare.

The memories gradually disappear as the Alzheimer's disease progresses. "The first thing that gets affected is the ability to take in new memories," explains Dr. Amanda Smith, M.D., medical director of the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute at the University of South Florida.

There are times that new memories do not have an emotional attachment, and these memories are stored in a different place other than memories. This makes the patient remember some events that happened 20 years but cannot remember the things happened 20 minutes ago.

As a result, a person with an Alzheimer's disease cannot learn new things as the hippocampus is not able to register new thoughts or send it to the storage units of the brain.

The patient's memory and thinking will be affected once the plaque starts to build up in the nerve cells of the brain. It causes confusion among people with Alzheimer's disease. They will then start losing the ability to organize thoughts or even remember the faces of the people close to them.

"It takes an emotional toll on the caregiver," explains Louise Kenny, LCSW, a bereavement counselor at Avow Hospice in Naples, Florida. "They grieve watching their loved one lose their memory."

Kenny stated that caregivers should educate themselves as much as possible to understand the disease. This will prepare themselves for the many phases of the Alzheimer's disease as it progress.

Meanwhile, Campbell is currently being treated at the National Memory Care Facility where he is being exposed to music therapy.

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