Important Resources For Alzheimer’s Caregivers
And much of the research into Alzheimers over the past decade has been riddled with disappointment. Early on, autopsies of people with Alzheimers disease revealed their brains were full of clumps of protein called amyloid plaques. But experimental drugs meant to target and kill amyloid have flopped and failed in large clinical trials.
While researchers press on with potential pharmaceutical therapies, there is growing evidence that a combination of certain lifestyle factors may help stave off memory decline.
This past summer, scientists reported that people who exercise regularly, refrain from smoking, engage in activities that stimulate their brain and eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and healthy oils have a lower risk of developing Alzheimers dementia.
The key, researchers said, was to engage in all of those behaviors, not just one. Tight control of blood pressure has also been shown to help delay symptoms of dementia.
Whats more, doctors agree that an early diagnosis can help delay its progression. Signs of a potential problem include:
Changes in mood or personality
Confusion with time and place
Difficulty completing daily tasks
Trouble with speaking or writing
It was President Reagan who, 11 years before his own diagnosis, declared November as National Alzheimers Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raise awareness for not only the disease, but also, the heavy burden shouldered by those who love and care for patients.
Could Someone Run The Country With Alzheimer’s Disease
Ron Reagan says father, Ronald, showed early signs while in office.
Family Feud: Reagan’s Sons Fight Over Alzheimer’s
Jan. 17, 2011 — Six years after finishing his second term as the president of the United States, Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s — a devastating neurological disease that impairs memory, judgment and reasoning. But the former president’s son, Ron Reagan, says he saw the early signs of Alzheimer’s while his father was still in office.
“It wasn’t anything that obvious. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh my God, he doesn’t remember he’s president,’ Ron Reagan said in an exclusive interview with ABC News. “It was just, I had an inkling that there might be something going on.”
Ron Reagan recounts what he calls the early signs in his new book, “My Father at 100: A Memoir.”
Alzheimer’s disease, which is estimated to affect up to 5.1 million people in the U.S. according to the National Institute on Aging, is an irreversible and progressive brain disease that affects a person’s ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living. But subtler changes in memory and mood can signal the disease’s early stages.
Did Ronald Reagan Have Early Alzheimers’ In The White House
Ron Reagan said his father’s confusion during a 1984 debate — just three years in to what would be an eight year presidency — prompted his concern.
“There was just something that was off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it,” Ron Reagan told “20/20‘s” Elizabeth Vargas.
Ron Reagan’s half-brother, Michael Reagan, has publicly rejected the notion that their father had symptoms of Alzheimer’s during his tenure as president.
“Look what he accomplished in the last four years of his presidency: Reykjavik, START agreements, all the things he accomplished. The speech at the Berlin Wall in 1987 on June 12th,” Michael Reagan said in an interview on CBS’ “The Early Show.” “Someone with dementia does not accomplish all of those things.”
But depending on the level of support people have in organizing their daily lives, early symptoms of Alzheimer’s may go unnoticed, Loewenstein said.
“A lot of people in very high positions — not just presidents — are surrounded by people who organize their lives and cover for them,” Loewenstein said. “I’ve seen cases where people are, frankly, demented and actually very impaired in doing their job, but they’re covered for so successfully by their staff.”
Whether the former president himself noticed any early changes is unclear. Ron wrote in his book: “I’ve seen no evidence that my father was aware of his medical condition while he was in office.”
“We’re coming up with better biomarkers. And in the future, we may have better medical tests,” he said.
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When Did Ronald Reagan Have Alzheimer’s The Debate Goes On
In a difficult footnote to the Reagan Centennial celebration, questions persist about Ronald Reagan’s mental status during his White House days.
When did the Alzheimer’s disease start? The debate has provoked the latest Reagan family feud. In his new book “My Father at 100,” Ron Reagan contends his father showed signs of Alzheimer’s Disease three years into his first term. He said he noticed it in the president’s performance in the Oct.7, 1984, campaign debate with Democratic challenger Walter Mondale.
He writes, “My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with his notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered.”
“Knowing what we know now, about the nature of Alzheimer’s disease, we know that, decades before symptoms begin arriving, changes are happening in the brain,” Ron Reagan adds.
The late president’s eldest son, Michael Reagan, had an angry reaction to Ron’s assertions. In a Twitter post, Michael fired back: “Ron, my brother was an embarrassment to his father when he was alive and today he became an embarrassment to his mother.”
Early Show co-anchor Erica Hill asked, “Could it be possible there may have been something else? Could he have had dementia?”
“No, he didn’t have dementia,” Reagan proclaimed.
President Reagan Suffered From Alzheimer’s While In Office According To Son
Ronald Reagan was showing signs of Alzheimers while still in office, according to his son Ron Reagan.
In his memoir My Father at 100, Reagan writes:
Today we are aware that the psychological and neurological changes associated with Alzheimers can be in evidence years, even decades, before identifiable symptoms arise. The question, then, of whether my father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimers while in office more of less answers itself.
Ron Reagan recounts having concerns as far back as 1984.
“Watching the first of his two debates with 1984 Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale, I began to experience the nausea of a bad dream coming true. At 73, Ronald Reagan would be the oldest president ever reelected…y father now seemed to be giving them legitimate reason for concern. My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered.”
Two years later the president expressed his own concern about his failing memory:
My father might himself have suspected that all was not as it should be. As far back as August 1986 he had been alarmed to discover, while flying over the familiar canyons north of Los Angeles, that he could no longer summon their names.
Ron Reagan writes that there is no evidence that my father was aware of his medical condition while he was in office.
Opposition To The Briggs Initiative
In 1978, conservative state legislatorJohn Briggs, sponsored a ballot initiative for the November 7, 1978 California state election that sought to ban gays and lesbians from working in California’s public schools. Officially, California Proposition 6 was a ballot initiative put to referendum on the state ballot. Early opposition was led by LGBT activists and a few progressive politicians, but to many people’s surprise, Reagan moved to publicly oppose the measure. He issued an informal letter of opposition to the initiative, told reporters that he was opposed, and wrote an editorial in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner opposing it.
Domestic And Political Legacy
Reagan reshaped the Republican party, led the modern conservative movement, and altered the political dynamic of the United States. More men voted Republican under Reagan, and Reagan tapped into religious voters. The so-called “Reagan Democrats” were a result of his presidency.
After leaving office, Reagan became an iconic influence within the Republican Party. His policies and beliefs have been frequently invoked by Republican presidential candidates since 1988. The 2008 Republican presidential candidates were no exception, for they aimed to liken themselves to him during the primary debates, even imitating his campaign strategies. Republican nominee John McCain frequently said that he came to office as “a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution”. Reagan’s most famous statement regarding the role of smaller government was that “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Praise for Reagan’s accomplishments was part of standard GOP rhetoric a quarter-century after his retirement. Washington Post reporter Carlos Lozada noted how the main Republican contenders in the 2016 presidential race adopted “standard GOP Gipper worship”.
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Dementia And Alzheimers Disease Affect All People Groups
These cognitive conditions cross all socio-economic demographics. In America, prevalence of Alzheimers disease and other dementia is higher in non-whites. Many studies conclude that older African-Americans are twice as likely to have Alzheimers and other dementia compared to older whites nationwide. U.S. Hispanics are about one-and-a-half times at greater risk for these brain illnesses compared to U.S. whites. The racial differences with Alzheimers and other dementia is linked to having at-risk health conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure.
People age 65 and older show the greatest rise in new dementia cases, but aging does not automatically equate to dementia. During the 1984 presidential election, Reagans age of 73 became a political issue. During a debate with his opponent, former Vice President Walter Mondale, Reagan quipped, I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponents youth and inexperience. Regarding the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the oldest two candidates in history. With other leaders like Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. John McCain still active in public service, perhaps America no longer views age as a limiting factor of leadership.;
Ongoing Support And Improved Dementia
The Reagans open disclosure of the former presidents anticipated mental decline brought relief to Alzheimers families across the world. Today, organizations like the Alzheimers Association offer a caregiver center stocked with reliable information, programs and resources and a 24-hour hotline, 1-800-272-3900, to help with support at any stage of dementia. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at 800-352-9424 also lists an online resource page of dementia organizations .
Cultural And Political Image
According to columnist Chuck Raasch, “Reagan transformed the American presidency in ways that only a few have been able to.” He redefined the political agenda of the times, advocating lower taxes, a conservative economic philosophy, and a stronger military. His role in the Cold War further enhanced his image as a different kind of leader. Reagan’s “avuncular style, optimism, and plain-folks demeanor” also helped him turn “government-bashing into an art form”.
Reagan’s popularity has increased since 1989. When Reagan left office in 1989, a CBS poll indicated that he held an approval rating of 68 percent. This figure equaled the approval rating of Franklin D. Roosevelt , as the highest rating for a departing president in the modern era.Gallup polls in 2001, 2007 and 2011 ranked him number one or number two when correspondents were asked for the greatest president in history. Reagan ranked third of post-World War II presidents in a 2007 Rasmussen Reports poll, fifth in a 2000 ABC poll, ninth in another 2007 Rasmussen poll, and eighth in a late-2008 poll by British newspaper The Times. In a Siena College survey of over 200 historians, however, Reagan ranked sixteenth out of 42. While the debate about Reagan’s legacy is ongoing, the 2009 Annual C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leaders ranked Reagan the tenth-greatest president. The survey of leading historians rated Reagan number 11 in 2000.
Research Advancements Are Vital To Help Prevent Slow And End Progressive Cognitive Disorders
The Reagan Institute is credited with an expansion in the biological portion of Alzheimers research and has raised millions of dollars to back biomedical scientists in developing and testing treatments. Thatchers backing continues the Alzheimers Research UKs pursuit of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical therapies and a vision for a world where people are free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia a world in which those affected by dementia and Alzheimers reflect the inscription on Reagans headstone, there is purpose and worth to each and every life.
How does Reagans and Thatchers personal stories inspire you to help fight dementia?
An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.
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Edmund Morris: Reagan And Alzheimer’s
Young Ronas I still think of him, although he’s no longer the 20-something in red high-top Reeboks who eavesdropped with me through a cracked door at the U.S.-Soviet summit in 1985is the only one of the four Reagan children to share their father’s sunny equanimity. Unlike his elder siblings , Ron seems free of that typical neurosis of presidential progeny, a feeling that Dad never cared as much for the family as for the electorate. All loved the old man with unresentful passion, but Ron understood him best. Frankly acknowledging to me that “our relationship is about this deep,” he had no stories to tell that matched, for example, Michael’s and Patti’s memories of incidents when their father simply failed to recognize them.
So when Ron suggests in his new book that Ronald Reagan may have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in office, I have to assume that he’s being as objective as he always was back in the days when we became friends. I can only say now, as I wrote in 1999, that I never saw any signs of dementia during the years that I observed Reagan in action, from May 1985 through his departure from the White House in January 1989.
In further proof that Reagan retained his smarts through the end of his presidency, I would cite the diary entries he patiently made every night until he left office. I can testify that although they were mostly boring, they were composed in sequential sentences as lucid as the entries he penned in 1981.
The Former President’s Son Now Says That Surgeons Saw Signs Of It Back In 1989
Ronald Reagan in 1985.
The Washington;Post’s Stephen Lowman has an early look at Ron Reagan’s new book about his father, which will soon be released to coincide with what would have been the former president’s 100th birthday. Specifically, Lowman highlights passages dealing with Reagan’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, which was formally diagnosed in 1994 . The most startling revelation may be this:
n 1989, doctors operating on Reagan expressed their belief he was suffering from the degenerative disease.
Ron Reagan writes that in July 1989, his father was thrown off a horse while visiting friends in Mexico. He received medical attention at a hospital in San Diego. When surgeons opened the presidents skull to relieve pressure they “detected what they took to be probable signs of Alzheimers disease.” But no formal diagnosis was given.
Of course, from the earliest days of his presidency, there were those who questioned Reagan’s mental faculties. At 69, he was the oldest man ever elected to the White House, and he was frequently portrayed by critics as detached, overly relaxed and generally uninterested in — or even oblivious to — the day-to-day details of governing. In his book, Ron;Reagan makes reference to a particular incident that fueled this talk: Reagan’s rambling, stumbling closing statement at the end of his first presidential debate with Walter Mondale in 1984:
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Why didnt Wilsons Vice President Thomas Marshall take over? In 1919 the rules of presidential succession in the case of injury werent clearly defined. The 25th amendment wasnt ratified until 1967, and so Wilsons administration was operating under Article 2 of the constitution, which provided for a Vice Presidential takeover in the case of death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office. Wilson wasnt dead and was unwilling to resign under these circumstances, so the Vice President refused to assume the presidency unless Congress passed a resolution declaring the office vacant.
President Eisenhower posing for first pictures since his heart attack. His red shirt reads Much Better Thanks over the pocket.
Reagan Speech Helps Asu Researchers Unlock Possible Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s
Berisha is an assistant professor in Arizona State University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Science and School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering; Liss is an associate dean of ASU’s College of Health Solutions. Their research was featured in the New York Times.
Their findings, which were published in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease, do not prove Reagan exhibited signs of dementia that would have adversely affected his judgment and ability to make decisions in office. But the research does suggest that alterations in speech one day might be used to predict development of Alzheimers and other neurological conditions years before symptoms are clinically perceptible.
Berisha told the New York Times their research is part of a larger effort to develop objective tests that would serve as bellwethers for Alzheimers and other neurological diseases. He and his team also hope to devise a study in which the conversations between physicians and patients are recorded at each visit and later analyzed to determine if speech and language changes can predict the appearance of dementia.
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