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Alz·hei·mer's disease

n :  a degenerative brain disease of unknown cause that is the most common form of dementia, that usu. starts in late middle age or in old age as a memory loss for recent events spreading to memories for more distant events and progressing over the course of five to ten years to a profound intellectual decline characterized by dementia and personal helplessness, and that is marked histologically by the degeneration of brain neurons esp. in the cerebral cortex and by the presence of neurofibrillary tangles and plaques containing beta-amyloid - abbr. AD - called also Alzheimer's  - compare PRESENILE DEMENTIA 
 
Alzheimer, Alois (1864-1915),
German neurologist. Alzheimer was noted for his work in the pathology of the nervous system. The majority of his medical contributions centered on neurohistology. Alzheimer published papers on topics that include acute alcoholic delirium, schizophrenia, epilepsy, syphilitic meningomyelitis and encephalitis, gliosis, Huntington's disease, and hysterical bulbar paralysis. In 1894 he published a noteworthy description of arteriosclerotic atrophy of the brain. With Franz Nissl he produced Histologic and Histopathologic Studies of the Cerebral Cortex (1904-08), a six-volume encyclopedia that described normal and abnormal structures in the central nervous system. In 1907 he published his classic description of presenile dementia. The disease was later named in his honor by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin.
 
     

 
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