Mental Health

The History of Dementia, and Alzheimer

The history of dementia, and Alzheimer Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia by Philippe Pinel

Philippe Pinel, médecin en chef de la Salpêtrière en 1795 by Tony Robert-Fleury

Dementia has always been part of life, ancient philosophers saw mental decay as an intrinsic part of aging. As the lifespan of humans extended the prevalence and study of dementia increased.

In 1797 dementia was accepted as a medical term thanks to Philippe Pinel, a French physician who is considered to be one of the fathers of modern psychiatry.

Alzheimer’s Disease by Alois Alzheimer

alois alzheimer
Alois Alzheimer and his team of investigators in Munich, 1910

In the late 1800s as medicine advanced, doctors achieved the ability to look inside the brain and realized that diseases caused this cognitive deterioration.

In 1906 the German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer started examining post-mortem brains of younger dementia patients and published the first case of a fifty-one-year-old woman, Auguste Deter, with dementia symptoms.

Alzheimer discovered microscopic plaques and tangles. These are now known as hallmarks of the disease.

In 1910 the most common form of dementia was named after Alois Alzheimer.

Frequently asked questions about dementia and Alzheimer

What are the really early signs of Alzheimer?

  • vertigo
  • confusion time and place
  • difficulties soliving daily tasks
  • loss of sense of initiative
  • memory loss
  • getting lost & losing things
  • increased anxiety

Can Alzheimer cause death?

Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal form of dementia. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia rank as the 7th leading cause of death worldwide.

What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer?

Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms that decrease your memory abilities. Alzheimer on the other hand is a degenerative brain disease that is the most common cause of dementia.

dementia alzheimer

Who gets dementia more male or female?

Worldwide, twice as many women suffer from dementia than men. 65% of deaths globally due to Alzheimer and other forms of dementia are women.

What are coping strategies for dementia?

Set reasonable goals for yourself and make use of your strengths to successfully complete difficult jobs. Even with reminder tools, some chores could become too demanding for you to finish. Asking for support from family or friends can help you feel less stressed. Create a daily schedule.

How do you calm someone with severe dementia?

Reassure the individual.

Permit the individual to exercise as much self-control as feasible.

Maintain a schedule by getting dressed, taking a shower, and eating at the same time every day.

Include quiet periods and activities in your daily schedule.

What do dementia patients need?

A person with dementia will eventually need assistance with both instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) (such as eating, dressing, and movement) and activities of daily living (ADLs).

Is mild cognitive impairment dementia?

Mild cognitive impairment and dementia are divided by a thin line. Once the cognitive impairment is severe enough to interfere with daily life, we call it dementia. Around 15% of people suffering from mild cognitive impairment will develop dementia during their lifetime.


Vatanabe I.P. et al. (2019) Historic concepts of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: From ancient times to the present. Revue Neurologique, 176, 3, 140-147.

Boller F. & Forbes M. (1998) History of dementia and dementia in history: An overview. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 158, 2, 125-133.

Hugo, J. & Ganguli, M. (2014). Dementia and cognitive impairment: epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 30, 3, 421-42.

Livingston, G. et al. (2020). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report. The Lancet Commission, 396, 10248, 413-446.

Petersen R. C. (2011). Mild Cognitive Impairment. The New England Journal of Medicine, 364, 2227-34.

WHO: Top 10 causes of death

The University of Queensland, Australia: History of Dementia Research

US National Library of Medicine: History of Alzheimer’s Disease

A brief history of dementia

The History of Alzheimer’s Disease by James M. Ellison, MD, MPH

In-Home Care California US: Dementia home care Whittier

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