Chapter 9. Biological Research on Dementias

  1. Juan José López-Ibor2,
  2. Wolfgang Gaebel3,
  3. Mario Maj4 and
  4. Norman Sartorius5
  1. Simon Lovestone

Published Online: 30 APR 2002

DOI: 10.1002/0470846461.ch9

Psychiatry as a Neuroscience

Psychiatry as a Neuroscience

How to Cite

Lovestone, S. (2002) Biological Research on Dementias, in Psychiatry as a Neuroscience (eds J. J. López-Ibor, W. Gaebel, M. Maj and N. Sartorius), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846461.ch9

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

  2. 3

    University of Düsseldorf, Germany

  3. 4

    University of Naples, Italy

  4. 5

    University of Geneva, Switzerland

Author Information

  1. Departments of Old Age Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 APR 2002
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2002

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471496564

Online ISBN: 9780470846469



  • Alzheimer's Disease;
  • dementia;
  • synuclein;
  • Lewy body;
  • cholinergic hypothesis;
  • apolipoprotein E (APOE)


Alzheimer in 1907 described in the brain of a middle aged woman the plaques and tangles that have provided the focus for all subsequent research on the dementias. These lesions, visualized by silver staining, also occur in the brains of old people with dementia, and this realization, known before Alzheimer but rediscovered in the modern age in the 1960s, was one of the most important steps forward in care of the elderly, as it turned senility from an unfortunate but seemingly inevitable, and hence ignored, consequence of ageing, into a disease process. From this followed medical and other services, the establishment of the lay societies and subsequent increasing recognition by the general public. The real goal of biological research is treatment that will be preventative or curative – disease modifying in other words.