In 1726 dementia was first included in an English dictionary with the description: ‘extinction of the imagination and judgement’.
In France and Spain, during the same period, dementia was described as ‘craziness, extravagance’.
In the 18th century dementia was seen as chronic and irreversible. It could touch people of all ages and was seen as an end stage of numerous other psychological problems.
In the 19th century, the description developed to ‘cognitive impairments’ related to aging and still seen as irreversible.
1907: Alois Alzheimer (on the right) reported the first case of Alzheimer: a 51-year old woman. At autopsy, Alzheimer found characteristic amyloide plaques in the woman’s brain.
In 1910 Alzheimer’s Disease is first mentioned in a medical hand book.
Nowadays, the term dementia describes a large group of diseases that have a decrease in brain function in common. Think of functions like memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and emotional responses.
Slowly, we more frequently hear the word rehabilitation in relation to dementia. There are increasingly more signs that with the right stimulation people with dementia may regain or longer maintain function.