• Mon, Jun 9 2008

Did Ronald Reagan have Alzheimer’s Disease while he was President?

Did Ronald Reagan have Alzheimer’s Disease while he was President?

Dr Larry Altman, who was a Senior Medical columnist for the New York Times, once looked into this question and was…

“…unable to find any evidence by any medical criteria that is known to the medical profession that Mr Regan had any symptoms or signs of Alzheimer’s when he was President.”

He did discover, though, in an interview he did with Ronald Reagan in 1980, that

“…his mother had been senile for a number of years before she died. The word ‘Alzheimer’s’ was not a household word at that time, and Mr Reagan interrupted the interview to ask me about that, and I explained the new knowledge of Alzheimer’s and senile plaques in the brain and the new findings that were going on, and I had asked him, given that family history, what he would do if he were found to be senile, or to have dementia or to have Alzheimer’s, as we know it today, as President, and he said he would resign. And when I asked him how he would know that, he said, ‘I’d expect my doctors to follow me and to tell me’. They did in their everyday examinations, interchanges with him, but they did no formal testing for Alzheimer’s. The first formal psychological test only occurred about I guess it was the year following, he fell off a horse, and that was the year following he left the White House.”

Reagan’s four main White House doctors also say…

“…they never detected any evidence that his forgetfulness was more than just that. His mental competence in office, they said in a series of recent interviews, was never in doubt. Indeed, they pointed out, tests of his mental status did not begin to show evidence of the disease until the summer of 1993, more than four years after he left the White House. “

The first official announcement was a letter written by President Ronald Reagan announcing he has Alzheimer’s disease that was released on Nov 5, 1994.

However, Dr. Louis A. Gottschalk, a prominent neurologist and psychiatrist believes that Ronald Reagan was indeed starting to display early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease as the time of the presidential debates between candidates Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan in 1984.

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  • http://www.alzheimersnotes.com Mary Emma Allen

    Those who are looking to find evidence of incompetence will say he had the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. Those who have no problem with his decisions, will not be nitpicking for this evidence. Since no formal tests were made it would be difficult to say his Alzheimer’s condition had begun while he was in office and affected his decisions. However, I’m sure there are those who will disagree with me.

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  • Karen

    It would be great if Dr. Gottschalk looked at speeches of John McCain. Sometimes he’ll be speaking then go off in left field. Such was the case when they were asking him about Spain’s PM/ally.
    If a loved one of mine had any form of dementia I wouldn’t try to hide it. I’d want to get them on the latest medication or some kind of brain booster to stave it off as long as possible.

    @Mary Emma: I don’t think anyone is nitpicking. The more lies one tells while the evidence is clear, makes people want to dig a little deeper. I saw Dr. Gottschalk’s tapes and if Reagan didn’t have the beginnings of Alzheimers than I’m blue. Perhaps he could’ve been given early treatment. There’s not a cure but there are drugs that are working to keep it at bay a while longer.
    On 60 Minutes, Ron, Jr. was asked if his father had Alzheimes in office. He said “we’ll never know.” I’m quite sure he and his family knew.

  • http://AT&T Mozelle

    Yes, I think McCain has early Alzheimers, My husband, 2 of his sisters and one brother their father all had Alzheimers, and the signs are readily available in McCain. I am two years older than McCain and it is hard to concentrate and be as young thinking as I once was.

  • DrinkTheKoolAid

    It always amazes me to hear an “ist” statement (ageist, sexist, etc.) from a person who fits the category. So, you’re 2 years older than McCain, and because you’re forgetful, he must have Alzheimer’s?

    Yes, yes…it all makes sense now.

    I could tell you that my grandmother is significantly older than McCain, and she’s on FIRE, but I won’t, because it really doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not McCain (or anyone else his age, or gender, or anyone with any other similarity to McCain) is competent. A man could say, “Well, I’m the same gender as McCain, and I forget things, so it only makes sense that McCain will, as well.”

    Apples, meet oranges. No, you’re not the same, but you’ll often be compared by people who really have no other basis for a comparison.

  • Gill Bates

    Is Dr. Larry Altman a Republican? I must seriously question his credibility on this subject.

    Mr. Reagan said untold times that hs “couldn’t recall” during the Iran Contra hearings. If he seriously, honestly could not recall it certainly suggests that he was suffering the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Whether or not this meets Dr. Altman’s definition of medical criteria is the big question.

    So, in a sense, the US has already had a woman president – Nancy Reagan.

    • Judy Beaudoin

      I so agree! I felt strongly that she was in charge during his second term as President. Horrible to think of, as she was a very spiteful and controlling woman – just look at how she related to the Russian President’s wife! I was disgusted at her lack of diplomacy . She was incapable of realizing she represented AMERICA and it wasn’t about her, it was about us!

    • Susan

      Gill, your an ass.
      Reagan had more brains with early dementia than our current President would ever hope to have. As least Reagan was a true blue American and wanted nothing more than to protect our country and see it prosper. Our current President does not respect our values of our Country and he wants everyone to be the “same”, and make the “same”. Maybe I can go on his wife’s next vacation to Spain with her. I deserve to go to, don’t I.

  • Albert Eichelberger

    President Reagan’s daughter, Maureen, was known for talking against him. She died in 2000. Her funeral was on CNN for about 3 hours or so. One of the women giving her eulogy stated: ” I first met Maureen in 1970, when her father and mine had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease”. I don’t think the woman was lying, but I do think everyone else has been.

  • TONY

    I DONT THINK THERE IS ANY DOUBT IN ANYONE’S MIND THAT REAGAN DEFINATELY HAD SOMETHING GOING ON…..EVEN HIS WALKING WAS VISABLY NOTICABLE…HE OFTEN LOOKED LIKE HE WAS GROPING FOR WORDS WHEN SPEAKING….WHY DO YOU THINK NANCY PRACTICALLY HAD A LIVE IN ASTROLOGER….SHE WAS SO DESPERATE TO HIDE HIS CONDITION….THE SHAME AND HORROR OF HIM BEING REMOVED FROM OFFICE WOULD HAVE PUT SUCH A DAMPER ON HIS MEMORY AND HER PRESIDENCY……OR WAS HE MERELY UNABLE TO REMEMBER ANYTHING THAT HE DID NOT WANT TO REMEMBER …I THINK NOT…..RONNIE WAS WALKING INTO WHITE HOUSE WALLS LONG BEFORE HIS TERM WAS UP

  • david mick

    I think President reagan was a fine president i was watching clips of him and at times he was forgetful that comes with old age you could see he didnt have the disease till he left office years later

  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

    kind of curious why we need ANYONE to be in office thats in their 60′s 70′s or even 80′s.

  • David LeVack

    I have no affiliation with any political party, and from an objective point of view, if you look at the facts, the idea he wasn’t starting to have onset is silly. He was the oldest president, and Alzheimer’s never just OCCURS. It’s a slow degradation. I also would wager, if this was the case, he wasn’t necessarily calling all the shots either. So the decisions people don’t agree with would not be Reagan’s fault.

  • David LeVack

    Actually, you should of paid attention to what the woman said. She was merely speaking that she has noticed with age, the mind is less virile.

    and since you don’t seem to understand, age effects memory far more often than gender. How many elderly people do you know are ON FIRE? the fact your grandmother is “ON FIRE” an exception, doesn’t that go against your debate here?