|Alzheimer's disease (äls'hī-mərz) Pronunciation Key
A progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, commonly affecting the elderly, and associated with the development of amyloid plaques in the cerebral cortex. It is characterized by confusion, disorientation, memory failure, speech disturbances, and eventual dementia. The cause is unknown. alzheimer's disease is named for its identifier, German psychiatrist Alois alzheimer (1864-1915).