Signals that form memories and thoughts move through an individual nerve cell as a tiny electrical charge.
Nerve cells connect to one another at synapses. When a charge reaches a synapse, it may trigger release of tiny bursts of chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters travel across the synapse, carrying signals to other cells. Scientists have identified dozens of neurotransmitters.
Alzheimer's disease disrupts both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.
©2007 Alzheimer's Association. www.alz.org. All rights reserved. Illustrations by Stacy Janis.