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September 1966

Alzheimer's Disease: A Family Study

Author Affiliations

From the University of Oregon Medical School, Veterans Administration Hospital, Portland, Ore, and the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Neurol. 1966;15(3):225-233. doi:10.1001/archneur.1966.00470150003001

ALZHEIMER'S disease remains incompletely defined despite the case reports and clinicopathological surveys of several decades. The etiology of the disorder is unknown. Although several families with a high prevalence of the disease have been reported,1 many other cases appear to be sporadic. Clinically, the most consistent manifestation is progressive dementia beginning during the presenile years. However, dementia is commonly seen in persons with other brain disorders, including nonspecific loss of mental powers associated with aging.2 The diagnosis depends upon demonstration of senile plaques and neurofibrillary changes in brain tissue; but even these alterations, although relatively specific, have been reported with other disease states.3-5 In any case, extensive biopsy or even autopsy series are impractical for large scale clinical or genetic studies of this uncommon disease which affects a relatively inaccessible tissue.

This report describes our study of a family, the largest yet reported, in which 19 persons

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