Saturday, January 15, 2011

Did Ronald Reagan have Alzheimers While In Office?

Ronald Reagan's son, Ron Reagan, has recently published a memoir about his father titled, "My Father at 100: A Memoir."  The book has caused quite a stir in the media and among conservatives because in his book, he claims that his Dad had Alzheimers as early as during the 1984 Presidential elections
He describes how his father became uncharacteristically lost for words and looked "bewildered" during the 1984 presidential debates with Walter Mondale.

He says his father may have suspected Alzheimer's in 1986 when he was flying over familiar canyons north of Los Angeles and could no longer remember their names.

In 1989, the year of Ronald Reagan's leaving office, doctors operating on him after he was thrown from a horse while visiting friends in Mexico opened the president’s skull to relieve pressure.

They "detected what they took to be probable signs of Alzheimer’s disease." But no formal diagnosis was given.
Ron claims that Ronald Reagan had Alzheimers during his presidency has been floating around every since he left office. In 1997, three  years after Ronald Reagan announced that he had the disease, all four of the White House doctors during Reagan's Presidency said Ronald Reagan never developed Alzheimer's while in office. Furthermore, Alzheimer’s specialists have consistently been debunking this myth as well. 
Ron's son is just the latest person to bring up the old accusation all over again. However, Ronald Reagan could not have had Alzheimers at the time his son, Ron, claims he did. US News clearly shows that his claims do not add up to the facts
My family had the special opportunity to meet him approximately a year after he left office. You can see our family photo with Ronald Reagan below: 
My family with Ronald Reagan.  I'm the handsome red head in the picture.
While I'm not a medical specialist, based on my memory of meeting with him, it did not appear to me that he had Alzheimer's. I was young at the time when I met him but I recall that he he was alert and attentive when he conversed with us. He walked around the room with no trouble. He told us a few funny stories about life as a President. If he had it, I didn't see it.

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