When Was Alzheimer’s Disease Discovered?
100 years have passed since the discovery of Alzheimer’s yet the disease still remains a mystery. The exact cause of the neurodegenerative disease has not been known and neither has a cure been found. Despite this, we cannot fail to recognize how far we have some since the disease was first discovered in 1906.
The Alzheimer’s Timeline
- 1906 – Alzheimer’s was first discovered in 1906 by a doctor Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist. The disease was named after him. Dr. Alois had a patient who is only known as Auguste D. She had died from a strange mental illness. Before her death, the patient had shown symptoms like memory loss, paranoia and psychological changes. When Dr. Alzheimer performed the autopsy, he discovered that the patient’s brain had shrank in and around the nerve cells. Dr. Alzheimer was interested in using new scientific tools to determine how symptoms related to physical brain changes. Het indeed set a new standard for understanding neurodegenerative disorders. He died in 1915 without suspecting that his encounter with Auguste would set stage for massive international research efforts.
- 1910 – The disease was officially named Alzheimer’s in 1910 by a German psychiatrist known as Emil Kraepelin who had a history working with Dr. Alzheimer
- 1931 – The invention of an electron microscope that allowed further study of the brain happened 25 years after Dr. Alzheimer had made his discovery. The microscope was invented by German scientists, Max Knoll and Ernst Ruska. With a magnifying power of up to 1 million times, it enabled scientists to do more detailed studies of the brain.
- 1968 – In 1968, the first validated measurement scale for assessing cognitive and functional decline in older adults was developed by researchers. This development paved the way for correlating the level of impairment with estimates of the number of brain lesions and the volume of damaged tissue.
- 1974 – In 1974, there was an act of Congress that established the National Institute of Aging or NIA. It is the primary institute or federal agency that supports research into Alzheimer’s .
- 1976 – It was in 1976 that Alzheimer’s was recognized as the most common form of dementia. Neurologist Robert Katzman’s editorial published in the Archives of Neurology stated that Alzheimer’s disease was a major public health challenge
- 1980-1989 – Between 1980 and 1989, the research into Alzheimer’s gained momentum. Infrastructure for the research was developed nationwide and the first drug trials were done
Over the years till date, a lot of resources have been dedicated to the research of Alzheimer’s. This disease is one of the greatest health problems in today’s society. It is the sixth cause of death in America and it is expected to cause more deaths in the future. Unfortunately, neither the cause nor the cure is yet to be discovered.
The good news is that we have come a long way since its first discovery in 1906 and with the current developments and research in medicine and science, we are bound to have a breakthrough.