FAGAL | Federación Alzhéimer Galicia

What is Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease dementia with a progressive nature. Its origin is unknown, but we know that it affects brain cells, causing the continuous death of neurons and, as a consequence, the affected person loses the ability of doing the functions that depended on those dead neurons.  This loss happens gradually and slowly at the beginning of the disease, and that is the reason why the first  symptoms can go unnoticed by the affected and their families. As time goes by, this disease evolves faster and the changes the affected feel are more obvious, making them lose bit by bit the ability of taking care of themselves.

A little bit of history... 

This disease was described for the first time in 1906 by Doctor Alois Alzheimer.  After five years taking care of Auguste Deter who was admitted to Frankfurt's Hospital at 51 years old and had a serious and progressive case of cognitive impairment that included memory loss, space-time disorientation, paranoia, hallucinations, delirium and incoherent speech. Auguste died in 1906 and her brain was sent to Alzheimer so he could examine it, leading to the first clinical description of what has come to be known as “Alzheimer’s disease” since the 1910 edition of Psychiatrie by Kraepelin. In his analysis, Alzheimer showed a connection between that clinic description and a series of morphologic changes in cerebral cortex. A second case was discovered in 1911. That same year, Solomon Carter Fuller published the first inspection of 13 disease cases.