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Margaret Thatcher - A Probable Alzheimer's Victim

An Associated Press article appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on 25 August 2008 under the heading: "Iron Lady's Memories Grow Dim." The article quoted exceprts from a new book authored by her daughter Carol Thatcher and to be published in the UK on September 4th, 2008            

 

 (Photo below right of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.)

Margaret Thatcher

“Carol Thatcher charts her mother’s decline – and describes the day in 2000 when she first understood her mother was being robbed of her memory...I couldn’t believe it,” Thatcher said in a section published by the London Mail on Sunday. “She was in her 75th year. But I had always thought of her as ageless, timeless and 100 percent cast-iron damage-proof.” Thatcher said her mother – who is now 82 – used to have a memory “like a website” but that dementia, combined with a series of mini-strokes, opened “a new and frightening chapter in our lives.” “What was most galling was that there was nothing I could do: this cruel disease takes its own course," she said.”

The AOL News on 26 August 2008 also carried and item on the same subject under the heading: “Britain’s Thatcher Suffers from Dementia.” The following is quoted from that article –

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – once known as one of the world’s most formidable political minds – has been suffering from dementia for the past several years according to her daughter, Carol.” The woman who had dominated discussions for so long could no longer lead debates or keep up with the thread of a drinks-party conversation, she wrote.” On bad days, she could hardly remember the beginning of a sentence by the time she got to the end.”

 Stan’s Notes:  The articles referenced above both make the common mistake of referring to Dementia as if it were a disease.” Dementia” is not a disease but rather it is a series or group of symptoms that in turn are caused by some overlying disease or condition. This mistake is also frequently made by uninformed medical people.

The following is quoted from the Alzheimer’s Association – “Dementia is not a disease itself but a group of symptoms. Cause of dementia can include...Lewy body disease, frontal-temporal lobe dementia, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease”...”Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.”

It is often estimated that 80% of all dementia symptoms are caused by Alzheimer’s. Based on the described symptoms and the disease statistics, it is probable the Margaret Thatcher has Alzheimer’s.

There is a suggestion that Margaret Thatcher's symptoms may have resulted from a series of small strokes that she had in 2002. However her daughter documented her memory problems to the year 2000, fully two years prior to the strokes. There is also the prevailing theory that Alzheimer's is at work in the brain for 10-30 years before the first symptoms of the disease appear.

 

Margaret Thatcher was a close ally and friend of President Ronald Reagan. They were said to be close both philosophically and politically. It is a tragic coincidence that both became victims of Alzheimer's disease. She once said of Reagan that he was the "second most important man in my life." Reagan had said of her that she was "the best man in England". Margaret Thatcher is the second British Prime Minister to come down with Alzheimer's. Harold Wilson was the first.

 

Before coming into public life, Margaret Thatcher studied Chemistry at Oxford University but then changed course and went on to become a lawyer. Her term of office as Prime Minister was the longest in the 20th centrury. She was also the first female Prime Minister of England.

 

 (Photo below right of President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher during one of their friendly visits together.)

Reagan and Thatcher

This is another example of the many people who have Alzheimer’s and who were previously persons of sharp mentality and intellect. Persons who were utilizing their minds vigorously in their everyday life prior to developing Alzheimer’s. These examples effectively put a lie to the theory that one can avoid Alzheimer’s by vigorously utilizing one’s brain on a daily basis. Proponents of this notion act as if the brain is a muscle or a joint that one must use or lose the function. How often have you heard the saying – “Use it or Lose it?” The brain is not a muscle or a joint.  This theory is an insult to my wife June and every other Alzheimer’s victim by suggesting that they sat around vegetating until they developed Alzheimer’s.  Tell that to the families of Abe Burrows (Actor), Perry Como (Singer), Aaron Copland (Composer), Arlen Francis (Actor), Ralph Waldo Emerson (Poet), Barry Goldwater (Senator), Rita Hayworth (Actor), Charlton Heston (Actor and Political Activist), Burgess Meredith (Actor), Edmond O’Brien (Actor), Otto Preminger (Director), Margaret Thatcher (British Prime Minister), Ronald Reagan (40th US President), Norman Rockwell (Artist), Harold Wilson (another British Prime Minister), and half of the veterans of WWII our "greatest generation.” My wife June K. Berg, was one of the brightest, most active and alert people I have ever known. This "Use it or Lose it" mentality and thinking results in a cruel myth, hoax and a fraud.

Even Mayo Clinic is one of the promoters of this foolishness. In their publication “Age of Wellness” Summer 2007, much space is devoted to this subject. Dr. David Knopman in an article on Lifestyle Habits in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease”, after discussing “Eat Healthy, Exercise Regularly, and Stay Mentally Active!” ends the article with the following admission....”The reality is that the information we have doesn’t really answer the question whether any of these behaviors (diet, exercise, or stimulating leisure activities) alone serve to protect the brain from AD.

AMEN to that thought....now let’s spend our time and money in finding a cure and forget the false notions that we can somehow avoid Alzheimer’s by simply altering our life style.

 

 

 

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