Ron Reagan Suggests Dad's Alzheimer's Began While In White House

January 14, 2011

Mark Memmott

In a book due out next week the younger son of former President Reagan "suggests [that his father] suffered from Alzheimer's disease while in the White House," U.S. News & World Reports' Washington Whispers blog says.

Ron Reagan, the blog reports, writes that:

-- "Three years into his first term as president ... I was feeling the first shivers of concern."

-- "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. ... My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses."

-- "In July 1989, barely six months out of office, ... surgeons opening his skull to relieve pressure [during a previously unreported surgery] 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 former president and former first lady Nancy Reagan told the nation of his disease in 1994. As Washington Whispers adds, suggestions that he might have suffered from it while president have previously been  "dismissed by Reagan's doctors and outside experts."

The former president died in 2004.

(H/T On Deadline) Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.