Ronald Reagan’s youngest son says in a new book that he believes his father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease while in the White House, according to a column in U.S. News & World Report.
Ron Reagan makes the suggestion in his new book “My Father at 100," due out next week, Paul Bedard writes in the news magazine’s “Washington Whispers” column. Ronald Reagan, who was president from 1981-1989, and his wife Nancy publicly revealed he had Alzheimer’s in 1994.
His son Ron, who became a liberal and atheist, suggests he saw hints of confusion and "an out-of-touch president" during the 1984 campaign and again in 1986, when his father couldn't recall the names of California canyons he was flying over, according to the U.S. News & World Report column.
In his memoir, Ron Reagan notes that doctors today know that the disease can be present before it is recognized, according to the report. "The question, then, of whether my father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's while in office more or less answers itself," Ron Reagan writes, according to the column.
The son also says his father, after leaving the White House, had brain surgery after being thrown from a horse on July 4, 1989, while in Mexico. He says his father, after initially refusing medical help, was taken to a San Diego hospital, Bedard writes.
"Surgeons opening his skull to relieve pressure on the brain emerged from the operating room with the news that they had detected what they took to be probable signs of Alzheimer's disease," the younger Reagan writes, according to Bedard. Several Reagan associates, however, say there was no surgery in San Diego, Bedard noted.
Feb. 6 is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth.