Donald Trump’s family history of Alzheimer’s disease, an issue during his heated primary and presidential campaigns, is once again being talked about in the wake of his habitual and sometimes bizarre Tweets at all hours since becoming president elect.
Trump, 70, will be the oldest president ever elected when he takes office in January.
His actions over the past year, suggesting he may already be exhibiting early signs of the disease, have not gone unnoticed.
“My father passed away years ago from complications associated with Alzheimers,” said one commenter in a Facebook post.
“His behavior started out like Trump’s with 3AM rants about what was wrong in the world and progressed to him defending his home with a 30-30 rifle thinking it was being invaded.”
“Trump’s behavior seems all too familiar and has been the entire campaign,” she added.
“My question for everyone is this: Who can make the determination he’s unfit to serve mentally, especially when he has refused to provide an actual medical exam”, she asked.
In the most recent troubling sign, Trump paused to answer questions from the media in an impromptu meeting Dec. 21. But he was unable to remember an official statement he’d released the previous day regarding the Berlin terror attack.
Reporter: “Your comments about the truck attack in Berlin being against Christians, do think that this might….”
Trump: “Say it again?
Reporter: “The attack in Berlin being an attack on Christians….”
Trump: “Who said that? When was that said?”
Short-term memory loss is a key indicator of on-set dementia, according to medical references.
Trump also seems to fail to understand the gravity of statements he posts at all hours on Twitter. Many come out of the blue, or exhibit signs of petty vindictiveness and aggressiveness.
His negative statements about defense contracts involving Air Force One and the F-35 program sent the stocks of both their manufacturers into a spiral, before the market snapped back.
Out of the blue, he also casually suggested the nation should re-ignite the nuclear arms race, even though every previous administration has been devoted to reducing the number of weapons.
Then, he issued a belligerent challenge as if he were facing off in a school-yard fight. Unwarranted aggressiveness is also a sign of Alzheimer’s.
In each case, Trump has caused staff members to scramble. They either walk back the statements, or spin them in an effort to provide context that rationalizes them.
The issue could easily be dismissed if Trump was forthcoming about his family’s medical history. But that’s the one thing (beside his tax returns) he’s diligently tried to cover up during both the primary and general election.
Trump’s family doctor, Howard Bornstein, has been the sole source of information about his health.
All during the campaign, Trump refused to release a full medical history as he’d promised. Trump skirted the issue by releasing a four-paragraph letter from Bornstein. Both the letter and the doctor were widely discredited.
In a strange reality television show moment to quell critics, Trump released the results of a physical exam on the “Dr. Oz” show.
Host Dr. Mehmet Oz, was called out last year for being a being a “charlatan” and a “quack” by a group of top doctors from around the country.
Trump has credited his “family genes” for his supposedly “excellent” health. But what he’s failed to disclose is his family history of the debilitating mental disease that struck his father Fred Trump.
Questions about Trump’s mental capacity were first raised during the Republican primary.
In April, Trump’s incoherent answers and his seeming inability to remember even basic facts, sparked a slew of stories about his mental capacity and whether he was “unwell,” as as online culture Web site Salon stated it.
During a primary campaign stop in Pittsburgh, he gushed: “How’s Joe Paterno? We gonna bring that back? Right? How about that—how about that whole deal?”
Paterno was head coach of Penn State’s football team. He was forced to resign for covering up a child-molestation scandal involving one of his coaches. Trump seemed to be the only person in the room who didn’t realize Paterno died in 2012.
When Trump goes on a rant, he often seems to become confused and loses his train of thought, the site noted.
He also has a terrible time with facts that he ought to know off the top of his head.
During a primary campaign stop in Buffalo, NY, Trump couldn’t remember the date of the Sept. 11 terror attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
“I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen, down on 7-Eleven, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down,” he said.
Trump also has a habit of making up events–like seeing Muslims cheering in New Jersey on Sept. 11–and swearing they are true.
He also claims he was in New York City during the attack, when friends recall he was at his Florida estate. He wasn’t seen in New York until Sept. 13.
His constant contradictions, like claiming he opposed the Iraq War when he clearly supported it, may be less an attempt at obfuscation, and due more simply to befuddlement.
He may actually believe what he says, unable to recall what he really said previously.
While Trump’s gaffs are laughable and often dismissed as “Donald just being Donald,” they are also red flags for something far more serious. They are classic signs of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
In early and mid-stage Alzheimer’s, people often forget words or misplace objects, forget something they just read, repeat things over and over, have trouble making plans or organizing and fail to remember names and dates important to their work or lives, according to the group.
Trump’s behavior is certainly one early sign, but the more telling one is the fact that his father suffered from Alzheimer’s.
While medical science has yet to determine the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease, scientists do know that genes are involved. according to medical site WebMd.
In other words, it’s hereditary. If Trump’s father suffered from it, there is a good chance he could develop it as well.
Alzheimer’s typically strikes people older than age 65, according to the Mayo Clinic. At Trump’s advanced age, the disease is much more common.
Ronald Reagan, the nation’s oldest president to date, exhibited the same subtle changes as Trump.
Reagan’s speaking patterns suggested the onset of dementia while he was in office and well before doctors diagnosed his Alzheimer’s disease in 1994, according to The New York Times.
Like Trump, who would be even older when he takes office, Reagan was fine as long as he stuck to a prepared speech or teleprompter. But when he ad-libbed, as Trump typically does, the warning signs flashed red.
Of course, there are tests like brain scans that can spot lesions associated with the disease. As president, Trump may be forced to undergo a more rigorous exam by military doctors.
If there is a problem, let’s hope they discover it before he does something highly regrettable, like starting World War III.
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