David Madore's WebLog: What was Alzheimer's first name?

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(Wednesday)

What was Alzheimer's first name?

Try telling this story to your friends: and the first warning he [some common friend, perhaps] ever had of the start of Alzheimer's disease, appropriately enough, was that he wanted to say something about Alzheimer (the physician) and found himself unable to remember the guy's first name. When you say this, people will start, suddenly worried, scratching their head trying to figure out what Alzheimer's first name was. The trick is that, for some reason, virtually nobody knows that it was Alois, but they get the impression that such a famous person's first name must of course be well-known.

I am told that Alois' son liked to play a similar joke on people who didn't know his (last) name: they would hesitate, hello there, Mister, Mister…, in trying to remember it (or whether they should know it) and he would take a deep and meaningful voice, as if diagnosing—“Alzheimer”.

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