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Making Sense of Alzheimer’s is a creative space for people to understand the past, present and future of Alzheimer’s disease. It is an evolving forum, a gallery of ideas, a museum without walls.

“Alois Alzheimer: His Life and Times” by Michel Goedert and Bernardino Ghetti (2007)

“Alois Alzheimer: His Life and Times” is an overview of Alzheimer’s life and achievements. Additionally, Goedert and Ghetti highlight Alzheimer’s relationships with other major figures in the field of psychiatry in Germany during Alzheimer’s career, such as Franz Nissl, Emil Kraepelin, and others.

“The Golgi Stain: Invention, Diffusion and Impact on Neurosciences” by Ennio Pannese (1999)

The Golgi stain, invented in 1873 by Camillo Golgi, was the first technique to reveal the complete image of nerve cells.  Ennio Pannese examines the history of the Golgi stain (black reaction or silver precipitation technique) and its significance in neuroscience.

“The Nature and Significance of Senile Plaques” by Macdonald Critchley (1929)

Macdonald Critchley highlights the first references to senile plaques that were made by Blocq and Marinesco in 1892 and Redlich in 1898.  Redlich termed these masses, “military scleroses.” Critchley later describes the histological nature of these plaques and their significance.

“Histological Staining Methods” by R.W. Banks ( From “Silver-Impregnation Methods in the Peripheral Nervous System” (1902))

R.W. Banks’s article explains the “Silver-Impregnation Methods in the Peripheral Nervous System” in technical terms.  Max Bielschowsky’s silver stain technique is discussed to highlight its significance in neurohistology and the development of silver-impregnation methods. 

“The Complex and Multifactorial Nature of Alzheimer’s Disease” by Karim Alkadhi and Jason Eriksen (2011)

In this editorial that was published in Current Neuropharmacology, Alkadhi and Eriksen discuss the papers written by Alzheimer in 1907 and 1911 that examine the neuropathology of his patients that exhibit memory decline and mental impairment. The authors also address current problems and possible solutions in the Alzheimer’s disease research today.

The Identity of Alzheimer’s Disease and Senile Dementia and their Relationship to Senility” by R.D. Newton (1948)

R.D. Newton examines the clinical, pathological, and etiological aspects of Alzheimer’s disease in order to look at the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, and normal senility.  Ultimately, Newton concludes, “These dementias seem to be related to the process of ageing.  But whereas aging seems to be occurring abnormally early in the central nervous system in Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia, in senility it is integrated with the ageing process in other parts of the body, and so can be considered ‘normal.’”

“The Prevalence and Malignancy of Alzheimer’s Disease” by Robert Katzman (1976)

Robert Katzman argues for the characterization of Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia as a single condition.  In an attempt to spread awareness about the crippling effects of Alzheimer’s disease, Katzman concludes, “In focusing attention on the mortality associated with Alzheimer disease, our goal is not to find a way to prolong the life of severely demented persons, but rather to call attention to our belief that senile as well as presenile forms of Alzheimer are a single disease, a disease whose etiology must be determined, whose course must be aborted, and ultimately a disease to be prevented.”

Proclamation 5110 – National Alzheimer’s Disease Month (1983)

Ronald Regan’s Proclamation 5110 designated November 1983 as the first National Alzheimer’s Disease Month. Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994.

“The precursor of Alzheimer’s disease amyloid A4 protein resembles a cell-surface receptor” by Jie Kang et al. (1987)

This scientific and technical article highlights the importance of the amyloid precursor protein on chromosome 21 for the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.  Kang and her associates “isolated and sequenced an apparently full-length complementary DNA clone coding for the A4 polypeptide.”

“Secreted amyloid Beta protein similar to that in the senile plaques of Alzheimer’s disease is increased in vivo by the presenilin 1 and 2 and APP mutations linked to familial Alzheimer’s disease” by D. Scheuner et al. (1995)

This study, published a year after the initial findings about the presenilin 1 gene mutation on chromosome 14 and presenilin 2 gene mutation on chromosome 1, examines the results of “blinded analyses of plasma amyloid-Beta in subjects with FAD [Familial Alzheimer’s Disease]-linked mutations or sporadic AD.”  The researchers conclude that the presenilin 1 and 2 gene mutations increase amyloid-Beta concentration, which is likely related to the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.

“New diagnostic criteria and guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease published for the first time in 27 years” – Alzheimer’s Association (2011)

The new guidelines, developed by three workgroups spearheaded by the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), incorporate a novel definition of Alzheimer’s, which “reflects current thinking that Alzheimer’s begins creating distinct and measurable changes in the brains of affected people years, perhaps decades, before memory and thinking symptoms are noticeable.”