Review ArticleAlzheimer's Disease: Critical Notes on the History of a Medical Concept
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Abstract:

It is generally accepted that Alois Alzheimer, the German neuropathologist and clinician, discovered the disease that carries his name, after the clinicopathological study of a 51-year-old woman named Auguste D. who presented a dementia syndrome. The pathological study of the brain revealed the presence of neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques. Emil Kraepelin coined the eponym Alzheimer's disease in the 8th edition of his textbook Clinical Psychiatry. However, several critical aspects of this history have been pointed out by historians of psychiatry. This article provides a narrative of the best-known facts leading to the formation of the original concept but also presents an informed discussion of the main critical points: 1. The descriptions of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the context of dementia before Alzheimer's report. 2. The presence or absence of arteriosclerotic changes in the brain of Auguste D. 3. The presence of noncognitive symptoms in August D. 4. The influence of social, political and economic issues in the formation and selection of medical concepts.

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