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Alzheimer's disease

Published on 16/10/10 at 02:30pm
Images of a normal brain and an Alzheimer's brain
A PET scan showing a normal brain (left) compared to that of an Alzheimer's patient

In 1906 a psychiatrist working in a Frankfurt asylum became fascinated by the unnamed illness suffered by one of his female patients, Auguste Deter. The woman suffered from memory loss, problems with language and changes to her temperament. After her death, the doctor examined her brain and discovered abnormal clumps and tangled bundles of fibres in her brain.

The psychiatrist was Dr Alois Alzheimer, and it is he who has given his name to Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, which today afflicts an estimated 24 million people worldwide.

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