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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 202-214

Neuropsychiatrist Alois Alzheimer (1864–1915) and His Eponymous Disease

George B. Kauffman* and Jean-Pierre Adloff

Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,; Honorary Professor, Université Louis Pasteur, 63 Rue Saint Urbain, Strasbourg, France F-67100,

Published: 9 June 2010

Abstract. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), an incurable, irreversible, and devastating brain disorder, is the second most feared illness in the United States. The frequency of AD is expected to increase rapidly during the next decades because of the increasing age of human populations, one of the unintended consequences of better nutrition and medicine. It affects as many as five million Americans, a number that could soar to 16 million by 2050. This article discusses the life and work of German neuropsychiatrist Alois Alzheimer (1864–1915), the story behind the naming of the disease, and its implications for our society as the population ages.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; biography; history of science; pharmaceutical chemistry; psychiatry; psychopharmacology; dementia; alzheimer’s disease; biochemistry; memory; medical research; clinical research; microscopy; histology

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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