By Wellington Pham, PhD., FAAAS, FRSC
A Timeline of Dementia
Over a hundred years ago, on November 3, 1906, neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer presented his work titled “A peculiar severe disease process of the cerebral cortex” at the 37th Meeting of South-West German Psychiatrists in Tubingen . In this meeting, he showed for the first time the histological alterations of the postmortem brain, later known as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles of a 55-year-old deceased woman named Auguste D. Her brain autopsy correlated with her last and agony years burdened with paranoia, progressive sleep and memory disturbance, aggression and confusion . During the psychiatric treatment, she usually admitted to Alzheimer, as quoted “I lost myself”. From this conference presentation and the subsequent publication of the work, Alzheimer had just associated his name with dementia caused by amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. To date, more than a dozen distinct subtypes of dementia have been clinically recognized, including vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, dementia with Lewy Bodies, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Down Syndrome, HIV-associated dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Among these, AD and vascular dementia are more prevalent than other types. The latter is commonly caused by ischemic tissue injury related to active sports or combat explosion, resulting in brain infarcts, and may involve other forms of tissue hypoxia and hemorrhage .