It begins barely perceptible: slight forgetfulness, frequent absence of mind, disorientation and diminishing judgment give an inkling that something is wrong with the person concerned. At the end is the departure of the ego and the simultaneous physical and mental decay of the personality.
This process of constantly progressive brain performance weakness or mental disorganization is called Alzheimer's disease or Alzheimer's disease. But who actually discovered this disease?
History and backgrounds
The well-known psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) has christened Alzheimer's disease after the name of his late-deceased pupil Alois Alzheimer. About Alzheimers life are known today only a few facts:
He was born on 14.06.1864 in Marktbreit am Main as the son of a notary. In 1887 he passed his state examination and doctorate in Würzburg. In 1888, Alzheimer successfully applied as a medical assistant in the founded by the psychiatrist Heinrich Hoffmann Municipal Institute for lunatics and epileptic in Frankfurt am Main.
In 1894 Alzheimer's got to know Cecilie Geisenheimer. From the marriage with her, 3 children were born. In 1901, Alzheimer's wife fell ill and died the same summer. To cope with his grief, Alzheimer rushed to work.
The first patient
On November 25, 1901, he met the patient who was to make him famous: Auguste Deter. She had little more than the memory of her first name. Alzheimer asked Auguste Deter, examined the intellectual and language skills and examined reflexes and organ functions. He did not make a diagnosis, he was at a loss, like his colleagues whom he consulted. Auguste Deter said several times: "I lost myself, so to speak" - she was obviously aware of her helplessness. Alzheimer gave the disease a name: the disease of oblivion .
After Auguste Deter's death in 1905, Alzheimer's dissected the brain of the deceased and found a failure of certain nerve cells and nerve cell contacts. He also showed protein deposits in the form of plaques in the entire cerebral cortex. He published his findings in writings and lecture tours.
Alzheimer's last life station was Wroclaw. After he had taken over the direction of the Royal Psychiatric and Mental Hospital there, he fell in 1915 possibly endocarditis (inflammation of the heart insides); later came a kidney disease. On 19.12.1915 Alois Alzheimer died.