One of the most remarkable and beneficial re-
forms of the nineteenth century has been in
the attitude of the profession and the public to
the subject of insanity, and the gradual formation
of a body of men in the profession who labour
to find out the cause and the means of relief of
this most distressing of all human maladies.
The history of Alzheimer's disease began in 1906 with Dr. Alois Alzheimer's presentation of the clinical case of a 55-year-old woman suffering from progressive dementia. Dementia, however, has been recognized since early antiquity, and has often been associated with old age.
References to senile dementia were first recorded around 600 B.C. Solon, an Athenian lawgiver known as one of the seven wise men of Greece, acknowledged the fact that judgment may be impaired in old age and revised the usual practice of dividing an inheritance within the family, taking into account that judgment while making a will may be affected by old age.
Plato also recognized senile dementia in his Republic, and stated that the commission of certain crimes (sacrilege, treachery, treason) is excusable in a state of madness, when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, in extreme old age, or in a fit of childish wantonness.
It is interesting to note that although dementia was often associated with old age, the ancient Greeks recognized that it was not part of the normal aging process. In fact, in that era of history, the government was usually run by the elderly because of their greater experience, loyalty, and wisdom. This was in line