By John Horton
Seventeen years ago, Ronald Reagan penned what some have called his “Long Goodbye”: a letter to the American people announcing that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He poignantly thanked readers for allowing him to serve as president. “I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience,” he wrote.
Since then, Reagan’s public goodbye has been echoed in private by thousands upon thousands of parents and spouses: the painful recognition that Alzheimer’s currently has no cure, accompanied by a hope that someday, medicine will advance to the point where the disease can be prevented, managed or even cured.
Today, as we recognize Alzheimer’s prominence, what is the state of the medicine — are we any closer to fulfilling Reagan’s wish?