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Introduction

  • Murray A. Raskind
    Correspondence
    Requests for reprints should be addressed to Murray A. Raskind, MD, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Mental Health Services, 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, WA 98109
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, and Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington, USA
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      Thirty years ago, many clinicians considered the disease described by Alois Alzheimer in 1907 to be a rare, presenile dementing disorder unrelated to the large number of very elderly persons suffering from “senile dementia.” In 1968, Blessed, Tomlinson, and Roth published a landmark clinical pathologic correlation study.
      • Blessed G.
      • Tomlinson B.E.
      • Roth M.
      The association between quantitative measures of dementia and of senile change in the cerebral gray matter of elderly subjects.
      They demonstrated that what had been labeled senile dementia in persons in their eighth, ninth, and tenth decades often was neuropathologically the same disease Dr. Alzheimer had described in a woman in her fifties. It became clear that most of the millions of elderly Americans with the insidious onset and gradual progression of disabling memory loss, other cognitive deficits, behavioral disturbances, global dysfunction, and impaired ability to perform activities of daily living, would manifest the classic brain lesions of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)—neuritic plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and neuronal loss in hippocampus and neocortex—at neuropathologic examination.
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      References

        • Blessed G.
        • Tomlinson B.E.
        • Roth M.
        The association between quantitative measures of dementia and of senile change in the cerebral gray matter of elderly subjects.
        Br J Psychiatry. 1968; 114: 796-811
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