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POLITICS

Donald Trump Family History of Alzheimer's Returns as Campaign Issue

Disease Hereditary; Is He Showing Signs?

Donald Trump, caught at an unguarded moment, stares blankly. He has a family history of Alzheimer's disease and questions have been raised about his own mental health. (Photo: Getty)

Donald Trump, caught at an unguarded moment, stares blankly. He has a family history of Alzheimer’s disease and questions have been raised about his own mental health. (Photo: Getty)

Donald Trump’s family history of Alzheimer’s disease, an issue during his heated primary campaign, has returned to center stage in the presidential election, driven largely by repeated attacks on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s health. He may already be exhibiting early signs of the disease.

Trump, 70, will be the oldest president ever elected if he wins in November. But his health is largely a mystery.

He has skirted the issue by releasing only a four-paragraph letter from a family doctor. Both the letter and the doctor have been widely discredited.

Then, in a strange reality television show moment, he released the results of a physical on the “Dr. Oz” show. The 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.

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 carrot-haired 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.

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 early-onset Alzheimer’s.

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.

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.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s typically strikes people younger than age 65, according to the Mayo Clinic. But 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 in speaking patterns linked to 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. Clinton’s detractors are insisting she undergo a brain scan because of her 2012 concussion.

But Trump is really the candidate who needs to have his head examined, in more ways than one.

Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest election coverage.


  • Michele Starling

    It’s actually Trump voters that should have their heads examined. Because of them, the racist, misogynist grandpa that no one wanted to pick up from the home has a microphone and the whole world is listening.

  • barbara brandt

    I am 73 and I agree about dementia onset for Trump. My Mom had it. I have lost confidence. I always was independent, learned quickly, high IQ, logical and key staffer in a company in Princeton involved with proposal preparation, detailed reports, etc. Last week I found an old address book and noticed I did not recognize many names. My intention is to get to a doctor affiliated with U of PA and have an MRI of the brain — plaque is the key here. It is also a key to alcohol dependency which was part of the Trump family history. I now think I understand the irrational behavior of our new President. I believe he truly believes Obama is plotting against him as he said this week. I believe much of his paranoia is not psychological but early onset of Alzheimers which in the beginning sounds like sociopathology. As a female, I have never accepted his personality and degradation of women sexually and I his racist remarks about Hispanics reflect complete ignorance of our population and contempt for the Constitution and day after day he digs a deeper hole. But if it is Alzheimers, we need to know ASAP. The Republicans and Democrats in Congress have to understand that we are in serious trouble because our President may have this disease.

  • Forbidden Fruit

    Looks like some sort of frontotemporal dementia to me. His behavior and personality are more affected than his memory. If you watch interviews of him from just 4-6 years ago, you can see the difference. He used to be much more calm and subdued, not the ranting maniac he is now.

    Frontotemporal dementia often leads to inappropriate or embarrassing public behavior, as well as paranoia, mood swings and other aggressive or bizarre outbursts. Alzheimer’s, by contrast, is more of a memory-loss disorder. Both are progressive and fatal.

    If he indeed has dementia of any kind, that says more about the voting public than it does about him. That we would elect someone with an organic brain disease to the highest office in the land is a direct reflection of our own intellect and values.

  • Fred_Rzewski

    TRUMP BEHAVIOR SUGGESTS HE HAS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

    Sadly this happens frequently to people in their late 60s and in their 70s, which is the President;s age.

    First, please read http://www.theimproper.com/142684/donald-trumps-family-history-alzheimers-campaign-issue

    Some of Trump’ Signs of Dementia:
    1. Extreme Paranoia not based on fact.
    2. Frequent changes of topics when answering questions (Trump cannot remember the question after he’s started speaking and so goes off topic.)
    3. Very unreliable memory (i.e. about his many rich Russian connections)
    4. Frequent repetitions.
    5. Cannot complete a sentence unless using a prepared text.
    6. Frequent changes of topics when answering questions (Trump cannot remember the question)
    7. Excessive egotism and infallibility (always he and only he is right).
    8. Preoccupation with true or supposed actions that are no longer relevant to people,
    9. Disregard for common courtesy.
    10. Confrontational behavior and body language.

  • Fred_Rzewski

    TRUMP BEHAVIOR SUGGESTS HE HAS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

    Sadly this happens frequently to people in their late 60s and in their 70s, which is the President’s age.

    First, please read http://www.theimproper.com/142684/donald-trumps-family-history-alzheimers-campaign-issue

    Some of Trump’ Signs of Dementia:
    1. Extreme Paranoia not based on fact.
    2. Frequent changes of topics when answering questions (Trump cannot remember the question after he’s started speaking and so goes off topic.)
    3. Very unreliable memory (i.e. about his many rich Russian connections)
    4. Frequent repetitions.
    5. Cannot complete a sentence unless using a prepared text.
    6. Frequent changes of topics when answering questions (Trump cannot remember the question)
    7. Excessive egotism and infallibility (always he and only he is right).
    8. Preoccupation with true or supposed actions that are no longer relevant to people,
    9. Disregard for common courtesy.
    10. Confrontational behaviour and body language.

  • Klynekin

    This article is biased in that the authors dislike for Trump is obvious, “He also has a terrible time w facts that he ought to know off the top of his carrot colored hair”…yeah, its apparent the author is a Trump hater. Alzheimers is not heriditary…its a disease that is marked by aluminium accumulation in the brain resulting in inflammation and ultimately death of the neuron…google it. Another suspect agent is consumption of aspartame which also causes cerebral inflammation. Just bc Trumps father (might have had it/fact check please) doesnt mean the Donald has it. This article is just another example of “fake news” coming from a Trump-Hater.

  • Macy’s Mom

    I have said all along that Trump is obviously suffering from early senile dementia. If Trump was a physician judging by his antics he would not be able to perform surgery unless he underwent a Mental Status Examination, and yet this idiot is allowed to become president of the free world. Just wait, you dumass deplorables who voted for this idiot, he will take you down to the hovel where he will end up, and you will rue the day that you voted for him. Just pray that he does not end the world by putting his fingers on the red button because another country “hurts his feelings.”

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