Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 33-38

Glimpses Of the Life and Legacy Of Alzheimer (1864-1915)


Correspondence Address:
Ambar Chakravarty


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The borderland between neurology and psychiatry is fast disappearing - thanks to the description of neurotransmitter alterations in various psychiatric disorders and the development of rational pharmacotherapy based on such alterations. The attempt to find out a neural basis of psychiatric disorders started in Europe about one hundred years back by a group of neuropsychiatrists with extensive training in histology and psychiatry. Two names stand out in prominence - those of Emil Kraeplin and his close associated Alois Alzheimer (Figs. 1&2). Kraeplin (1856-1926) was a German psychiatrist who worked as a professor at Dorpat, Heidelberg and later at Munich. His major contributions were in the classification of mental symptoms and diseases, the description of schizophrenia and the provision of an academic milieu wherein colleagues such as Nissl, Jakob, Barany and Spatz flourished. His association with Alzheimer began at Munich and it is from his memoirs (translated in English in 1987) (1) and other writings (2) that much can be known about psychiatric practice in contemporary Europe as well as about Alzheimer as a person. It was Kraeplin who credited Alzheimer by ascribing the eponym Alzheimer's disease to the condition he described. Emil Kraeplin, indeed was the mentor of Alois Alzheimer.


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