People with Alzheimer’s disease have physical changes in their brains. The main changes are the development of abnormal clumps (called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (called neurofibrillary tangles). As more and more plaques and tangles form, healthy nerve cells begin to work less well and lose their ability to communicate with each other. Eventually, they die. As nerve cells die, brain tissue begins to shrink.