Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Meet Dr. Alzheimer

"When a thing is funny, search it for a hidden truth" - George Bernard Shaw

Like Frankenstein, Alzheimer is the doctor, not the monster. This week's media attention to Alzheimer's disease got me wondering just who this Alzheimer cat is, so I looked him up. Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915) was the German neurpathologist and psychiatrist that discovered the nature of, and gave his name to, senility. Many fun Alzeimher facts include: 1) His doctoral thesis was on the wax-producing glands of the ear; 2) He seldom lectured without his trademark cigar, and liked to pace the room and stare over students' shoulders. One student noted: "It is said that at the end of the day there would always be a cigar stump at every student's bench by the microscope, marking his tour in the laboratory;" and finally 3) While not Jewish, he is buried in a Jewish cemetery next to his beloved wife, who was the widow of a wealthy banker when she married him.

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