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HOME > PAST ISSUE > March-April 2010 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

Finding Alzheimer's Disease

How interest in one patient’s suffering and confidence in the physical basis of mental illness led a German doctor to discover the devastating disorder

Ralf Dahm

2010-03DahmF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageIt’s widely known that a German physician named Alois Alzheimer discovered what we now call Alzheimer’s Disease. What is not as commonly understood is why. In the early 20th century Alzheimer was part of a new movement that searched for the physical causes of some mental illnesses in the human brain. Alzheimer and his research collaborators had the laboratory tools and expertise to search for microscopic anomalies in the brains of closely observed patients. The abnormalities they observed still characterize a much-feared disease whose incidence is growing globally today.


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