Sep 9, 2018

The Alzheimer’s Hypothesis

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A detailed analysis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease was first discovered in 1907 in a 51 year old woman by the German physician Alzheimer. One of the first changes noticed was an eruption of jealous feelings towards her husband. It wasn’t long before symptoms of rapid memory impairment were observed. The impairments prevented her from finding her way out of her home, She hid herself, she would drag objects to and fro, and occasionally screamed because she believed people were out to kill her.

When she was institutionalized her gestures would show a complete helplessness. As common in most Alzheimer’s patients, she was disoriented as to time and place. At times she would state that she didn’t understand anything, felt confused, and totally lost. When the doctor came in to see her she would consider it as an official visit and would apologize for not having finished her work. Other times she would be terrified and start to yell that the doctor wanted to operate on her. Other times she would send him away in complete indignation uttering phrases indicating that she was afraid that the doctor wanted to damage her woman’s honor. At times she would become completely delirious, dragging her blankets and to and fro, calling for her husband and daughter, and seeming to experience auditory hallucinations. She would often scream for hours and hours in a horrible voice. Mental regression advanced quite steadily. After four and a half years of illness the patient finally died.

Alzheimer performed a postmortem examination of the woman’s brain. He paid special attention to changes in the “neurofibrils,” fibers in the cytoplasm of a nerve axon — elements of the cytoskeleton that can be stained by a silver solution.

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