Alzheimer's Disease Discovered 100 Years Ago, Still Remains Mystery

Armen Hareyan's picture

According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease was discovered 100 years ago on Saturday, November 4, 2006. Currently 4.5 million people in America have Alzheimer's disease and that figure is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050.

On November 4, 1906, German physician Alois Alzheimer presented the case of a 51-year-old woman who had shown severe memory, language and behavior problems to his medical colleagues. When Dr. Alzheimer performed the woman's autopsy, he found a dramatically shrunken brain and unusual abnormalities in and around cells. Not long afterward, the brain disease he described was named Alzheimer. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person's memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities.


Treating Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may temporarily delay memory decline for some individuals, but none of the currently approved drugs is known to stop the underlying degeneration of brain cells. Certain drugs approved to treat other illnesses may sometimes help with the emotional and behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer's. One important part of treatment is supportive care that helps individuals and their families come to terms with the diagnosis; obtain information and advice about treatment options; and maximize quality of life through the course of the illness.

For more information on Alzheimer's disease contact the Alzheimer's Association, or call 800-272-3900.