Gary Reiswig recounted his family’s history with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, including their role in the discovery of a genetic marker for Alzheimer’s, in the book “The Thousand-Mile Stare: One Family’s Journey Through the Struggle and Science of Alzheimer’s.” Here is an interview with Reiswig from the Dallas Morning News:
How did you hear or see Alzheimer’s affect your family?
There was an observed family rumor that my great-grand- father Christian was senile by age 43. He died in 1903. I knew my grandfather well. I would hold his hand on walks so he wouldn’t get lost. He got to where he couldn’t speak and was silent with “the thousand-mile stare.” My dad’s oldest sister, Pearl, would put the ice tray in the stove instead of the fridge. She grew angry and violent and had to go into a care facility. Another of my dad’s younger sisters got so disoriented and forgetful she could not take care of her son, who had to live with relatives. … One of the largest impacts of this disease is that, when we finally understood what was happening, it blew our family apart.