Alzheimer’s Disease-The First Diagnosis

The First Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease


Alzheimer’s disease was first detected in 1906 by a  physician by the name of Alois Alzheimer had the opportunity to examine the brain of a woman who had died of symptoms including unpredictable behavior patterns, memory loss issues and language problems.  Upon this examination he observed changes in the brain tissue: many abnormal clumps (currently referred to amyloid plaques) and tangles (currently referred to as neurofibrillary tangles).  These 2 manifestations and a loss of connection between nerve cells are the main features of Alzheimer’s disease.  Prior to a couple of years ago, Alzheimer’s could only be positively diagnosed by autopsy.  However, today, thanks to the research of many fine institutions such as the Johnny Byrd Institute, National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic and many others, we can definitely diagnoses this debilitating disease with PET (Positive Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).  We can study the progression of the disease by establishing a baseline and have follow up visits and use research to try to develop treatment and preventions for the disease.


Unfortunately, today, Alzheimer’s disease is still an irreversible brain disease that slowly and progressively destroys the people we love the most. It reduces the ability of the victims to remember current events as simple as their address, morning meal, and in its most severe stages recognizing spouses and children, with the inability to perform the most elementary of daily living tasks.  When it occurs in one of your family members, it is a devastating diagnosis and puts an unbearable strain of the spouse and family.  The realization that your mother or father (in my case it was my father) has been stricken can be very difficult.  We at Caregiving With Love® are experienced in the intricacies of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and can help family members cope and try to live a close to normal life.


Dementia, defined as the loss of cognitive function: thinking, reasoning and remembering with behavior abnormalities most common form is Alzheimer’s disease.  Symptoms in most victims of Alzheimer’s disease usually appear in the vicinity of age 60.  It is estimated that more than 5 million people Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s.


Mild Cognitive Impairment


Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) defined as someone who exhibits more memory problems than would be considered normal at their age. Sometimes this condition progresses to more severe forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s, but there are cases where they don’tprogress to any form of dementia and remain within the bounderies considered normal.  This is making researchers rethink some of the theories involving the cause and prevention of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  There is valuable research presently occurring in many of the areas of our country and if you have a loved one exhibiting some form of dementia, we encourage you to become involved.  If you are in the Tampa Bay area we hope you will call us and we will be happy to direct you to the appropriate facilities.

Posted in: Dementia, Seniors

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