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This Day in History

Born on this day

Tuesday, June 14, 1864. :   Alois Alzheimer, the man who first identifies the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, is born.

     Aloysius "Alois" Alzheimer was born on 14 June 1864 in Marktbreit, Bavaria. He was a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist, and the first to identify the symptoms of what is now known as Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disease, and the most common cause of dementia. It is characterised clinically by progressive intellectual deterioration, behaviour changes and gradually declining activities of daily living. The most common early symptom is memory loss (amnesia), which usually manifests as minor forgetfulness that becomes steadily more pronounced as the illness progresses, yet older memories tend to remain intact.

The symptoms of the disease as a distinct entity from senility were first identified by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, and the characteristic neuropathology was first observed by Alzheimer. He observed the disease in a patient he first saw in 1901, and published his findings from his postmortem examination of her brain in 1906. Although Krepelin and Alzheimer essentially worked together, because Kraepelin was dedicated to finding the neuropathological basis of psychiatric disorders, he made the generous decision that the disease would bear Alzheimer's name.

Alzheimer died of heart failure at age 51, on 19 December 1915.

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