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Digital Subscriptions > iScot Magazine > September 2017 > LEST YOU FORGET

LEST YOU FORGET

Alois Alzheimer was a German psychiatrist of little distinction in his own lifetime, working in the ‘mental asylums’ of Frankfurt then Munich. In 1901 he picked up the case of a German lady who, at 51 years old, had developed dementia. He followed her case until her death in 1906 and when she died he carried out a postmortem study of her brain. He and his colleagues identified the presence of abnormal protein plaques and tangles in the brain which he postulated was the cause of the premature dementia

Now his eponymous disease is responsible for the vast majority of cases of dementia and dementia has become the single biggest killer of women in the UK. According to a recent report from Public Health England, dementia accounts for 15% of all female deaths and 8% of all male deaths in the UK

In 2016 the Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care, based at Kings College in London, produced its annual World Alzheimer Report which stated that ‘today 47 million people live with dementia worldwide, more than the population of Spain. This number is projected to increase to more than 131 million by 2050, as the world’s population ages. Dementia also has a huge economic impact. The total estimated worldwide cost of dementia is US$818 billion, and it will become a trillion dollar disease by 2018’

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