In 1901, Auguste was taken to an insane asylum in Frankfurt, Germany, by her husband. She was described as a delusional, forgetful, disoriented woman who “could not carry out her homemaking duties.” She was seen by a Dr. Alzheimer and was to become the case that made his a household name.
On autopsy, he described the plaques and tangles in her brain that would go on to characterize the disease, but in the excitement of discovering a new entity, a clue may have been overlooked. He described arteriosclerotic changes—hardening of the arteries—within her brain.
We typically think of atherosclerosis in the heart, but atherosclerosis involves virtually the entire human organism—our entire vascular tree. One of the most poignant examples of this systemic nature is the link between coronary artery disease, degenerative brain disease, and dementia.
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