Neurology pp 21-25 | Cite as

Historical Overview of the Dementias

  • S. Hoyer


Among other characteristic symptoms, forgetfulness is prominent in dementia. It may be speculated that Adam and Eve’s forgetting of God’s admonition not to eat from the tree of knowledge is the first documentation of mild presenile dementia (Genesis iii) as is nicely demonstrated in the painting by Lucas Cranach Das Paradies (Paradise). However, the use of the term “dementia” to describe impairment of the previously intact intelligence first became common in the middle of the last century. It was Esquirol [3] who provided a definition of “démence senile”. Intelligence, on the other hand, had been defined as the totality of physical substrate and processes of thought and its use in the practical and theoretical tasks of life [13].


Senile Dementia Historical Overview Organic Brain Disease Severe Memory Charite Hospital 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Hoyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathochemistry and General NeurochemistryUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergFederal Republic of Germany

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