Elsevier journal highlights "lessons learned" in observance of World Alzheimer’s Day

Supplement publishes lecture on teachings from Alois Alzheimer.

Amsterdam, 21 September 2004 – Returning to a neuropsychiatric approach is the best way to treat Alzheimer’s disease, according to Dr. Frans R. J. Verhey, in his lecture “Old and Forgotten: Alzheimer’s Lessons,” published recently in Elsevier’s Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. Verhey’s lecture recalls points about the disease made by its discoverer Alois Alzheimer, and is being profiled today in observance of World Alzheimer’s Day.

Approaching Alzheimer’s as a cognitive disorder is too limited, suggests Verhey. Alois Alzheimer himself followed a broader treatment path, combining neurology, psychiatry and neuropathology. This approach, Verhey believes, would serve today’s patients better.

The need for change in Alzheimer’s treatment has never been greater, declares Professor Imre Zs.-Nagy, editor of Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics . According to Prof. Nagy, the public has been misled by too many optimistic and often unfounded reports about the disease in the media. Even to the medical community, simply diagnosing the disease remains a challenge.

To illustrate the need for change, Verhey presented the case history of a 49-year-old female patient to his colleagues in general psychiatry at the University of Maastricht, Alzheimer Centre Limburg, the Netherlands. Among a long list of behaviors and symptoms she demonstrated, the patient had become increasingly delusional, always cried and started hiding her possessions. When asked to offer a diagnosis, Verhey’s colleagues’ answers ranged from late schizophrenia and psychotic depression to delirium and organic psychosyndrome. All agreed that it was not Alzheimer’s.

But as it turned out, they were wrong. Verhey’s presentation was actually taken from the first Alzheimer’s case described by Alois Alzheimer’s in his now-famous lecture from 1907.

“In spite of many world-wide efforts so far, we cannot predict, prevent, stop or cure this terrible disease,” said Nagy.

Elsevier publishes over 30 other Alzheimer’s and gerontology-related journals, including Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics and the soon-to-be-released Alzheimer's & Dementia, the Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, which will be launched in July 2005.

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About World Alzheimer’s Day

An estimated 18 million people around the world currently have dementia. World Alzheimer’s Day is an annual observance sponsored by Alzheimer’s Disease International. Their goal is to join all Alzheimer associations together to concentrate efforts, raise awareness and bring dementia to the global attention of governments, opinion leaders and medical professionals for patients and their families.

About Elsevier
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