Barcelona Alzheimer Treatment & Research Center

Nancy Reagan, a first lady against Alzheimer’s

On March 6th, died Nancy Reagan, wife of former US president Ronald Reagan. In a week in which there have been many tributes to her conciliatory role, her peaceful nature and her wisdom its mandatory to remember that Nancy Reagan radically changed the way Americans see Alzheimer’s Disease.

Regan became ambassador of breast cancer when, at late 1980s, they had her left breast removed. She then became ambassador of Alzheimer’s when Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with this kind of dementia five years later.

nancyNancy Reagan, Davis as maiden name, as an actress

“What she did was come out and label the disease. This is Alzheimer’s and Ronald Reagan has Alzheimer’s and it’s a disease. And it really hit home,” said Maria Carrillo, scientific director of the Alzheimer’s Association, to Fox Business, “because he was such a public figure and a leader. It really opened up people’s eyes for the very first time that Alzheimer’s was a disease.” Until then, according to Carrillo, the Americans considered it part of aging, not a pathology.

It was the year after the diagnostic came that Nancy Reagan established the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute, affiliated with the Alzheimer’s Association in the research on the disease.

Ronald_Reagan_and_Nancy_Reagan_aboard_a_boat_in_California_1964Nancy and Ronald Reagan, 1964

Almost a decade after this, June 5, 2004, Ronald Reagan died at home. He left written with his gallant character that got opened for him Hollywood doors, these words about his wife, words that help to reflect on the role of the 15 million caregivers is estimated that there are in the United States. “I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes, I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.”

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