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Doctors calling for Joe Biden to take cognitive test

by Staff reporter
06 Jun 2024 at 03:49hrs | Views
Doctors are calling for Joe Biden to take a cognitive test and make the results public after a bombshell report laid bare his mental decline.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal revealed a concerning picture of a President who struggles to remember meetings from one day to the next, mixes up key details of his own policies and who, at times, speaks so softly that aides struggle to hear him.

The report, which included interviews with 45 insiders, also said the 81-year-old spends long periods of times in meetings with his eyes closed.

Dr Stuart Fischer - an internal medicine physician in New York City - said the latest report once again showed that Biden needs to assure the public by taking a cognitive test.

'We are long overdue for this type of investigation,' he told

'No one likes to admit or recognize the passage of time, whether it is me or the President of the United States, but in certain cases, you have to.'

He added: 'We have to keep an open mind about the result, of course, but resistance from either side [doctor or Biden] is not a good sign.'

Referring to a claim in the report that Biden sometimes speaks so softly that aides struggle to hear what he is saying, Dr Fischer said that while he doesn't normally see this among patients in his nursing home, it could also signal cognitive decline.

The White House has dismissed the report as partisan politics, and insisted the President remains sharp and a vigorous leader.

But Dr Fischer said: 'I understand the President's reluctance [to take a cognitive test]... but the physician's reluctance is harder to understand.'

'He is a doctor, not a spin doctor, he is a medical doctor... who took an oath, like I did, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. His patient should come first.'

He added: '[Biden] is a public servant, an elected official... and does have some responsibility to the people who voted for him.'

Biden's last physical check-up was in February this year, when his physician - Dr Kevin O'Connor - said he continues to be 'fit, active, robust' and there were 'no new concerns' over the President's health.

He did not have any cognitive tests, but he did undergo an 'extremely detailed neurological exam' that ruled out 'stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's or ascending lateral sclerosis'.

Neurological exams include CT scans and MRIs of the brain, as well as conduction studies to test nerves, nerve function and brain activity.

In her short-lived Republican primary campaign, Nikki Haley called on Biden to take the gold-standard test for dementia, called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA).

This is a 10-minute survey created in 1996 to help medical professionals identify mild cognitive dysfunction, a precursory sign of dementia. It assesses concentration, attention, memory and other functions through a battery of questions, including asking patients to spot patterns, name animals and recall a string of numbers or letters.

The test's creator, Dr Ziad Nasreddube - a Canadian neurologist - told that the test should be used if there are concerns over someone's mental ability.

He said: 'If there is concern about cognitive performance, cognitive testing is recommended.

'If I am President Biden's physician, I would administer the MoCA test to him if he or I were concerned about his cognitive performance.'

Donald Trump completed a cognitive test when he was in the Oval Office in 2018, and has boasted about his alleged score of 30 out of 30. It is not clear whether he has taken the test again since.

Dr S. Jay Olshansky, a public health researcher at the University of Illinois who has written reports on Biden and Trump's age, said the bombshell report showed nothing new.

'There are way too many armchair gerontologists weighing in on the cognitive functioning of the president and presidential candidates,' he said.

'The only people qualified to comment on this issue include President Biden's personal physician and President Biden himself.'

He added: 'Virtually everything else written on this issue is little more than partisan politics and blatant ageism.' The report, published last night, also warns of a president who is allegedly becoming increasingly reliant on notes and impromptu offerings from aides.

In one meeting on funding for Ukraine back in January, the WSJ reported that the President was described as slow by sources - taking 10-minutes just to greet everyone in the room. He was also reliant on notes, and kept making broad points such as the need to fund Ukraine - which attendees said they found odd given that everyone in the room already generally agreed to this principle.

The President was also said to have let other lawmakers lead the discussion, and to have turned to them at various points even when asked questions by Republicans.

One attendee, who was not named, said: 'You couldn't be there and not feel uncomfortable. I'll just say that.'

In a meeting the following month, he was described as failing to understand his own policies during a conversation with Louisiana Republican and House speaker Mike Johnson.

Sources described Johnson as being dismayed by the President during the meeting. And in May, sources accused him of forgetting details from meeting to meeting while negotiating the debt ceiling.

Then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who led the Republican side, described the President as someone who would 'ramble', 'always had cards' and 'couldn't negotiate another way'.

In one case about 11 days from a possible default, Biden is described as having called McCarthy from Air Force One on his way back from a summit in Japan and appearing 'with it' while telling stories about the summit and how debt-ceiling talks could impact members of congress. But, when Biden met with McCarthy the next day, he was described as lacking the spontaneity he had over the phone while on the plane and continuing to go back to 'old stuff that had been done for a long time'.

Source - online