Alzheimers Disease what have we learned in the last 100 years?
Alzhiemers Disease was discovered in 1901 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a leading neurologist in Germany.
The concerned family of a 51 year old woman requested his help. The woman was having memory problems. She was also beginning to have problems with understanding the words when people were talking to her and increased difficulty speaking.
He accepted her as his patient and she lived at the asylum for the next four years until her death. Her condition
steadily deteriorated. The confusion increased and she became very suspicious and agitated. As the disease progressed
she began to wander around aimlessly and would scream when bedridden. She eventually became incontinent and was completely unaware of her surroundings.
Her symptoms progressed rapidly and she died in 1905. Dr. Alzheimer was intrigued by this strange illness. He performed an
autopsy and discovered brain shrinkage, fatty deposits, dead brain cells, and abnormal deposits in and around cells. He discovered the neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques which are now the defining characteristics of Alzheimer's Disease.
He published his findings in 1907 and this new disease was named after him.
It wasn't until the 1960's that scientists realized the connection between the symptoms and the plaques and tangles in the brain. It was at this point the scientists realized this condition was not a normal part of the aging process. The scientific community began to fully research this disease in the 1970's. This research has led to a better understanding of the disease and treatments to help slow the process.
At this point in time there is not a cure for Alzheimers Disease.
Fourteen million Americans will have Alzheimer's Disease by the middle of this century unless a cure or prevention is found.
It is estimated that more than 22 million individuals worldwide will have Alzheimer's Disease by 2025.
One in 10 persons over 65 and nearly half of those over 85 have Alzheimer's disease.
A small percentage of people in their thirties, forties, and fifties have early onset Alzheimers.
A person with Alzheimer's Disease lives an average of 8 years after diagnosis and as many as 20.
At any given time, 7 out of 10 persons with this disease live at home.