Monday, January 1, 2007

The Memory Hole - NY Times By DAVID SHENK

ONE hundred years ago today, a 42-year-old German psychiatrist and neuropathologist named Alois Alzheimer shocked colleagues with his description of one woman’s autopsied brain.
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Katherine Streeter

The woman was named Auguste Deter. Five years earlier, her husband had admitted her to Alzheimer’s psychiatric hospital in Frankfurt with a disturbing set of symptoms: memory trouble, aphasia (loss of the ability to use words), confusion, bursts of anger and paranoia. She had become a danger to herself in the kitchen and needed constant care.

Alzheimer found his new patient sitting on a bed with a helpless expression.

“What is your name?” he asked.

“Auguste,” she replied.

“Last name?”


“What is your husband’s name?”

“Auguste, I think.”

“How long have you been here?”

(She seems to be trying to remember, he wrote in his notes.)

“Three weeks.”