The Link Between Alzheimer’s Research and Black History

The Link Between Alzheimer’s Research and Black History
In the early 1900s, Dr. Alois Alzheimer discovered the disease that bears his name today. Alzheimer had observed an unusual disease in one of his patients, a woman in her 50s who had memory loss and was plagued by disorientation and hallucinations, according to Alzheimer's Disease International. She succumbed to the obscure brain disease at the age of 55. A post-mortem revealed brain abnormalities previously only found in elderly people. Today, “the pathological diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is still generally based on the same investigative methods used in 1906,” Alzheimer’s Disease International noted. In other words, if it hadn’t been for the good doctor, researchers and scientists of today would have to begin at square one. Though we owe him a great debt of gratitude, many caregivers and patients might be unaware that Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is named for Dr. Alzheimer. While his contribution to the world may be unknown by the general public, few people are aware of the contribution of Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller to Alzheimer's research.

First African American psychiatrist

An African-born grandson of slaves, Fuller was a researcher of degenerative brain diseases and the first African American psychiatrist. Fuller worked closely with Alzheimer in Germany, during the early study of the disease, according to the online publication Black Past. As one of five students chosen by Alzheimer, Fuller focused his research at the Royal Psychiatric Hospital at the University of Munich on pathology and specifically neuropathology.
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