As you consider Alzheimer disease history you may have thoughts of your own family history. Most families have at least one story of a family member with dementia of some kind.
Does this sound familiar?
Aunt Betty seems confused, asking the same question over and over again. It is almost surreal, as if she were acting out a the part of a broken record. Only she is not acting. This is for real. Or is it?
She does not remember that you have already answered her several times. Then with your next answer, she starts laughing as if to her you are the funniest person on earth. Ok, it was all a joke and you fell for it.
Or maybe not. As the laughing stops, she begins staring into space. You call her name and it is as if she were on another planet.
Although there may be other reasons for these symptoms, in this instance, Aunt Betty is suffering from Alzheimer disease.
Note There are over 100 types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimers, vascular dementia and Lewy bodies dementia. The most common symptoms are memory loss (especially short and mid term memory) and confusion. Eventually speech and understanding problems will appear.
In the US, it is estimated that as many as 4.5 million are living with Alzheimers.
As of 2009, in the the UK, 700,000 people have a form of dementia and more than half that number have Alzheimer's disease. It is expected that within the next 20 years the number will reach 1 million people. By 2050, that number will be over 1.5 million in the UK.
Alzheimers disease (AD) is...
A progressive brain disease.
Destroys thinking skills.
Eventually destroys the ability to preform the activities of daily living.
First appears after age 60.
Is the most common cause of dementia among those over 60.
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.
Alzheimers Disease receives its name from Dr. Alois Alzheimer.
In 1906 in an autopsy of Auguste D., a 51 year old woman, her doctor reported, lectured and eventually published his research about the changes in the brain tissue. He had been following her for since her admission in 1901. She had thinking, language, and memory defects. Her behavior was unpredictable with hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and aggressive behavior.
Within the brain tissue were numerous tangled bundles of fibers (called neurofibrillary tangles) and abnormal clumps (called amyloid plaques). Tangles, plaques, and loss of connections between the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain are the predominate features of Alzheimers Disease.
The most notable aspect of the findings was that she was only 51, young for this to be happening.
The doctor who lectured on this was Alois Alzheimer, the German psychiatrist (1864–1915).
Alzheimer lectured on Auguste's case and published his talk in 1907.
In 1910 Emil Kraepelin(1856-1926) coined the term 'Alzheimer's disease' – the term used down to this day.
Some question the validity of the term. The term dementia has its origins in the 16th century and many of the features of what is now known as Alzheimers were well known and documented prior to Dr. Alzheimers talk and paper.
By the end of 18th century the term...dementia... had both a clinical and legal recognition. It had reference to states of psychosocial incompetence.
By the end of the 19th century the common view was that dementia was an irreversible disorder of the elderly. Specifically it affected intellectual functions such as memory. By 1912 dementia referred to those who had previously functioned normally but who had lost their faculties.
In our medical ignorance prior to this time period, mental retardation was referred to by a number of terms that would never be used today.
Advertisements would refer to such as...stupid children...or...children suffering from stupidity.
It should be noted that ads from this time frame promoted snake oil as a cure.
Here are some Historical Terms for Mental Retardation as well as dementia. This will help round out your Alzheimer disease history information.
Today there is so much information on Alzheimer disease or AD that books are written on the subject. There is much more on Alzheimer disease history that could not be covered here.
More important than the history is the future. Our goal is to point you toward science that has found a way to prevent or slow down the disease process. Numerous studies point to a benefit from boosting an individuals glutathione.
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