Medical science has finally been able to detect those who will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Through an X-ray of the brain, 10 to 20 years before the dementia appears, a calcified area appears in a certain area of the brain.

The question is: “Does he or she want to know?” If so, a family conference with the family physician should discuss the time and method of suicide. If all agree, then the patient should sign his or her death warrant, years before the end state of the disease.

Preferably two certified doctors should determine the end stage of Alzheimer’s as an appropriate time to die; for example, when the patient cannot eat or drink.

The method of “death with dignity” was discussed years ago when the death warrant was signed. It is suicide, legally.

Philip Thompson, M.D.

Portland