A neurodegenerative disease of the brain characterized clinically by insidious, chronic, and progressive cognitive decline, and histologically by cerebral accumulations of the proteins beta amyloid (plaques) and tau (tangles).
In 1902, a woman called Auguste D. came under the care of Dr. Alois Alzheimer, then at the University of Frankfurt. The patient manifested changes in behavior and cognition. Her clinical course was characterized by progressive paranoia, delusional thinking, disorientation, and poor memory. She was institutionalized for the last 3 years of her life. Upon her death, Alzheimer analyzed her brain using a silver stain, and described both extracellular and intracellular protein accumulations. The extracellular protein accumulations were termed plaques and the intraneuronal protein accumulations were called tangles. Alzheimer presented the results of this autopsy in 1906. Several other similar cases of relatively “presenile” (i.e.,...
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