Among other points, this beautiful essay contrasts how Ronald Reagan publicly revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis — and how Margaret Thatcher was so private that the public does not know what her diagnosis was. In any case Paula Span writes, “dementia is part of their stories, and of so many others’.”

The long list of roles Margaret Thatcher played during her 87 years – potent politician, free-market evangelist, labor antagonist, dominant global leader – includes the one she never publicly discussed: person with dementia. The stroke that killed her on Monday was not her first. Mrs.

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Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing and editing stories for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years (more than we can count) producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. Most recently she was a finalist for "Best Topical Reporting" from the Online News Association. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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