Alois Alzheimer


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(1864–1915) German psychiatrist

Alzheimer was born in Markbreit in Germany and studied medicine at the universities of Würzburg and Berlin. After working in hospitals in Frankfurt and Heidelberg, he joined the Munich Psychiatric Clinic of Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) as head of the anatomy department. He worked in Munich from 1904 until 1912 when he was appointed professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Breslau (now Wrocław in Poland).

In 1907 Alzheimer treated a 51-year-old woman with a growing memory loss. Her condition rapidly deteriorated into severe dementia. On autopsy, he identified a number of pathological conditions including shrinking of the cortex and the presence of neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques. The plaques and tangles were distinctive enough to warrant a diagnosis of senile dementia or, as it later became known, Alzheimer's disease.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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