Monday, June 14, 2010

What's in a Name

The fellow depicted on the plaque above is one Alois Alzheimer, born this day 1864 in Marktbreti, Bavaria. The son of a local notary, Alzheimer received his medical degree from Wurzburg University in 1887. Soon after, he took a post at the city asylum in Frankfurt am Main where he was to make the discovery that puts him on our hero podium for today. In 1901, one of his patients Auguste Deter began to exhibit strange behavioral symptoms including short term memory loss. For the next five years Mrs. Deter was to be Alzheimer's obsession, and when she died in 1906, he had her brain and medical records brought to the lab he was working at in Munich. On November 3, 1906 he gave a lecture which describes the pathology of the disease that was to bear his name, Alzheimer's Disease. A fellow neuropathologist Emil Kraepelin, was the first person to give the disease Alzheimer's name, and it stuck. Sadly Alzheimer was only able to discover the disease, not its cure, but knowing the disease and its pathology is a major step, and perhaps one day soon the disease that carries his name will fade into history along with his fame. I am sure he would not mind be non-famous if they could find a cure. So, for being the first to recognize, and begin to study such a terrible disease, Alois Alzheimer (June 14th, 1864-December 19th, 1951, at the age of 51 of heart failure) you are my (293rd) hero of the day.

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