What is Alzheimer’s disease? In short, Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that typically develops in those 65 years old and older. This disease can cause those diagnosed to undergo significant memory loss and other adverse side effects; it is a neurodegenerative disease that gradually decreases cognitive function over time.
While there is no current cure or way to reverse the effects, there are ways to help slow down its progress. Memory care services, like those offered at many of our Senior Solutions communities, provide activities and exercises to help slow down the progression of the disease and care for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. While there may not be a cure, there is still hope. Asking ‘what is Alzheimer’s disease?’ is the first step in the right direction! Spreading awareness is one of the critical components in helping defeat Alzheimer’s disease and find a cure.
The Origin of Alzheimer’s Disease
The first documented case came in 1906 when Alois Alzheimer performed an autopsy on one of his former patients, Auguste Deter. Deter was transferred to the hospital Alzheimer worked at in 1901; from there, Alzheimer noted certain traits and behaviors from Deter that were rather uncommon for her age. While under his care, Alzheimer would frequently ask Deter simple questions that she was unable to answer, like to state her name.
Alzheimer initially called it ‘the disease of forgetfulness’ as Deter appeared to have forgotten almost every detail of her life. The phrase ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ was not coined until 1910 by Emil Kraepelin, one of Alzheimer’s colleagues.
Early Developments and Research Efforts
As the early 1900s progressed, the question ‘what is Alzheimer’s disease?’ did not gain much traction. The unfortunate reasoning behind this is simple: technology. Scientists in the early 1900s did not have the ability to study Alzheimer’s disease due to the lack of technological advancements.
One of the first significant tools in researching Alzheimer’s disease wouldn’t come until 1968 when the cognitive scales were created. These scales allowed scientists to understand cognitive function and its decline. The question ‘what is Alzheimer’s disease?’ began to spread in the 1970s, as Congress funded and established the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The NIA was and continues to be the primary federal agency tasked with Alzheimer’s disease research. A decade later, in 1984, the NIA began funding Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers, creating a national network for scientists and researchers.
Modern Developments and Endeavors
As time went on the question ‘what is Alzheimer’s disease?’ has grown in popularity. Modern research has provided much of the groundwork and a push to find a cure. In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first medication tasked with helping those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; there have only been five others passed since.
While we may not have extensive medications tasked with helping those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, we do have plenty of methods to help them. Senior Solutions’ communities that provide memory care are a great example of that. The question ‘What is Alzheimer’s disease?’ spread like wildfire in 1994, when former President Ronald Reagan announced his diagnosis with the disease.
In 2013, the G8 Summit on Dementia came out seeking a global effort to thwart dementia and find either a cure or a therapy-altering discovery by 2025. As we continue to fight Alzheimer’s disease and spread awareness, asking the question ‘what is Alzheimer’s disease?’ is crucial to advancing the public’s education. The history of Alzheimer’s disease spans over a century, and many people still are unaware of the condition or its effects.
The future is bright and full of hope for Alzheimer’s disease as we progress to find a cure. If your loved one was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there are communities with memory care services, like Senior Solutions, that provide appropriate care and attention. If you’re interested in checking out one of our communities or have any questions, feel free to contact us today.