Major Milestones in Alzheimer’s and Brain Research
Alzheimer’s disease was first described in 1906. In the century since then, scientists have made remarkable strides in understanding how Alzheimer’s affects the brain and learning how to make life better for affected individuals and families.
1906: Dr. Alois Alzheimer first describes “a peculiar disease”
German physician Alois Alzheimer, a pioneer in linking symptoms to microscopic brain changes, describes the haunting case of Auguste D., a patient who had profound memory loss, unfounded suspicions about her family, and other worsening psychological changes. In her brain at autopsy, he saw dramatic shrinkage and abnormal deposits in and around nerve cells.
Dr. Alzheimer died in 1915, never suspecting that his encounter with Auguste D. would one day touch the lives of millions and ignite a massive international research effort. Scientists recognize Dr. Alzheimer not only for his groundbreaking characterization of a major disease but also as a role model. He set a new standard for understanding neurodegenerative disorders by establishing a close clinical relationship with his patients and using new scientific tools to determine how symptoms related to physical brain changes.