Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70% of all people with dementia. First recorded in 1907 by Dr Alois Alzheimer who reported the case of Auguste Deter, a middle-aged woman with dementia and specific changes in her brain. For the next 60 years Alzheimer’s disease was considered a rare condition that affected people under the age of 65. It was not until the 1970s that Dr Robert Katzman declared (rather boldly at the time) that “senile dementia” and Alzheimer’s disease were the same condition and that neither were a normal part of aging.
Alzheimer’s disease can be either sporadic or familial. Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease can affect adults at any age, but usually occurs after age 65 and is the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease. Familial Alzheimer’s disease is a very rare genetic condition, caused by a mutation in one of several genes. The presence of mutated genes means that the person will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease, usually in their 40’s or 50’s.