Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Mind

How Did Alzheimer's Disease Get Its Name?

The name dates back to the German neurologist who first discovered the disease.

By Alex OrlandoDecember 1, 2019 4:00 PM
Alois-Alzheimer
Alois Alzheimer. (Credit: Wikimedia)

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Alzheimer’s disease is named after German psychiatrist and neurologist Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, the doctor noted some peculiar findings in the brain of a woman — known simply as Auguste D — who died after suffering memory less, disorientation, paranoia and unpredictable behavior.  

After the 51-year-old woman’s death, Alzheimer performed an autopsy on her brain. He found misshapen clumps of protein (later dubbed plaques) and twisted bundles of fibers (tangles). Today, those characteristics distinguish the degenerative brain disease. Alzheimer also noted shrinkage around the nerve cells in the woman's brain.

Several years later, in 1910, Emil Kraepelin, a German psychiatrist who worked with Alzheimer, codified his colleague’s findings. He named “Alzheimer’s disease” in the second volume of the German book General Psychiatry, marking the first time that the particular type of dementia, which slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, was described. Alzheimer himself died in 1915.

Read more:

Are We Close to Curing Alzheimer’s Disease?

A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle

A Hormone Produced When We Exercise Might Help Fight Alzheimer's

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In