10.30.2006

Alzheimer's Turns 100
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In 1901, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, (Deutsch article)interviewed a patient named Mrs. Auguste D, age 51. He showed her several objects and later asked her what she had been shown. She could not remember. He would initially record her behavior as "amnestic writing disorder," but Mrs. Auguste D. would be the first patient to be identified with Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer would later work in the laboratory of the esteemed Emil Kraepelin in Munich, Germany. Kraepelin was the author of a leading textbook in psychiatry and was a strong believer that neuropathology could be linked to clinical psychiatric function. Early in April 1906, Auguste D died, and Alzheimer worked with two Italian physicians to examine her anatomy and neuropathology. On November 3, 1906, he presented Auguste D's case to the 37th Assembly of Southwest German Psychiatrists and described the neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques that would be the hallmark of the disease. Kraepelin would later write about this case and others in his Textbook for Students and Doctors and index them under Alzheimer's disease. By 1910, the name of the disease was well established among the specialist community. [1]


CLEVELAND, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Many of the world's Alzheimer's disease experts will be in Cleveland next week to observe the 100th anniversary of the first Alzheimer's disease diagnosis.

Approximately 350 scientists from Australia, Canada, China, Britain, Japan, Mexico and the United States are to attend a conference Nov. 6-7 sponsored by Case Western Reserve University to discuss advances in technology, environmental design, ethics and care in dealing with the disease that affects 18 million people worldwide.

There are 4.5 million U.S. citizens with the disease and that number is expected to double by 2025.

"As we mark the 100th anniversary of Alzheimer's, it is time to think broadly and reflect deeply on the meaning of Alzheimer's for individuals and society," said Dr. Peter Whitehouse, professor of neurology at the university's Center for Memory and Aging.

Speakers at the "Reflecting on 100 Years of Alzheimer's: The Global Impact on Quality of Lives" conference will discuss the challenges created by Alzheimer's disease and related conditions in the areas of psychiatry, neurology, geriatrics, psychology, nursing and social work.



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