You wouldn’t be the first to ask the question “What is Alzheimer’s disease?”, and you won’t be the last either. Alzheimer’s disease is not a new disease, but it is one surging into the public spotlight in recent years. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are beginning to understand it in more depth and continue to work towards finding one. Memory care services, like those provided at Oaks Senior Living, are in place to help those affected by the disease. Awareness is one of the keys to helping defeat Alzheimer’s disease.
Discovery & Early Developments
It may surprise you to know that the first documented case of Alzheimer’s disease occurred in 1906. The German psychiatrist, Alois Alzheimer, had a patient by the name of Auguste Deter, who was demonstrating disturbing behaviors, like unfounded suspicions of her family members and loved ones. After she passed, Alois performed her autopsy and noted “a peculiar severe disease process of the cerebral cortex.” However, the name ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ was not coined until 1910, by one of Alois’ colleagues, Emil Kraepelin.
If you had asked ‘What is Alzheimer’s disease?’ in the early 1900’s you would have likely been met with much confusion. Sadly, the technological restrictions of the time caused progress to be slowed down, and awareness to be spread thin. The next breakthrough wouldn’t come until 1931 when the electron microscope was invented. This invention allowed researchers to study brain tissue in much greater detail than ever before!
Modern Developments & Awareness
The next research developments came along in the modern research era. In 1968, the cognitive scales were created; these scales allowed researchers to observe cognitive impairment and estimate the damage to brain tissue. This discovery was important because it gave researchers the ability to study and measure a patient’s cognitive descent appropriately.
The next development would come in 1974 when Congress established and funded the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The NIA officially began funding Alzheimer’s Disease Centers in 1984 and created a nationwide network. Nine years later, the first treatment drug, Tacrine, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration! A year after this approval, public awareness for Alzheimer’s disease rose significantly as former President Ronald Reagan announced, in a handwritten letter, that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. From this announcement, the question ‘What is Alzheimer’s disease?’ began to spread.
Present and Future Developments
As we continue the fight to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to note the past developments that brought us here. Though we currently do not have a cure, we are on the way to finding one. In 2013, the G8 Dementia Research Summit called for global action against dementia and vowed to have a cure or a therapy-altering development by 2025.
Researchers and scientists are only part of the solution, people asking ‘What is Alzheimer’s disease?’ and those spreading awareness also play a key role in helping defeat the disease. Oaks Senior Living is helping by providing services to those affected by the disease and their family members. Oaks Senior Living’s Horizons Memory Care provides a bright and vibrant environment for those with dementia. We offer a person-centered lifestyle that is tailored to every resident and their unique needs and desires.
There is a bright dawn ahead of us that will hopefully lead to the cure of Alzheimer’s disease! If you are interested in learning more about our memory care services or would like to visit one of our senior living communities in Georgia, we invite you to contact us or schedule a tour!