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Alois Alzheimer was a German psychiatrist who discovered the pathological condition of dementia and diagnosed the disease that bears his name.
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During Alzheimer's tenure at the psychiatric clinic in Munich, students from various countries attended his classes and marveled at his teaching. He was well known for his hands-on style, moving among the different microscope workstations and discussing each student's observations. Years later, many would recall the sight of Alzheimer bowed over a microscope with his pince-nez glasses dangling around his neck and a cigar in his mouth,
which he would set on the workstation table to conduct his explanations. It was said that at the end of the day there would be a cigar stump at nearly every student's workstation.
On July 16, 1912, King Wilhelm II of Prussia appointed Alois Alzheimer professor of psychiatry at the University of Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland). Though Alzheimer suffered from rapidly deteriorating health, he devoted the last three years of his life to research and clinical work. He died in Breslau (now Wroclaw), Poland, on December 19, 1915, at the age of 51, from cardiac failure—a result of an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart.
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