Dr. Ford Vox who specializes in brain disorders, called for Donald Trump to be tested for degenerative brain diseases like predementia.
Dr. Vox penned a lengthy analysis pinpointing various moments in Trump’s presidency that he believes shows hints of a neurological condition.
He stated the times Trump contradicted himself, rambles in interviews, makes faces, and forgets to sign bills at bill-signing ceremonies as ‘worrisome symptoms’ of illness.
Days after the president slurred his words and got a dry mouth during his speech historic speech about Jerusalem, were evident and sparked a flurry of speculation about his health. TV host Joe Scarborough said ‘people close to him during the campaign told me [he] had early stages of dementia.’
The New York Daily News revealed that Trump (who questioned whether Barack Obama had seen his birth certificate) mistakenly listed his birthday as July 14, instead of June 14, on his ballot for New York’s mayoral election last month It possibly rendered his vote invalid.
Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that Trump would undergo a physical examination early next year and the findings will be released to the public.
While Trump critics praised Dr. Vox’s article, people have questioned his ability to make a diagnosis of someone he has never met in person.
Dr. Vox, a physician, and journalist from Atlanta, who works at the Shepherd Center, compared Trump’s behavior to patients he has assessed.
‘Every day of my working life, I evaluate people with brain injuries,’ he writes.
‘It falls to me to make decisions about what is normal and what is not, what can improve and what will not, whether or not my patients can work, what kind of work they can do, and pretty much everything else.’
Dr. Vox refrains from directly diagnosing Trump, but insists that ‘it would be prudent for the president to be tested for a brain disorder.’
Linguistically, he says, Trump uses an excessive amount of ‘filler words’ which denote a lack of fluency. He breaks down his piece into subsections of language, social cognition, and memory and attention.
Trump’s early-morning tweets are signs of social and behavioral decline, Dr. Vox says.
He also pointed to Trump’s racial slur using ‘Pocahontas’ as a derogatory term during a ceremony honoring Navajos. He has contradicted his team, such as admitting that he did know about James Comey’s involvement with Russia before firing him.
Finally, he points to the New York Times article documenting every lie Trump had ever told as a sign of poor memory. He also points to the birth certificate saga, when Trump insisted then-president Obama could not possibly have been born in America.
Dr. Vox’s article received praise amid building controversy about Trump’s erratic behaviour.
Dr. Allen Frances, who was chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University when he oversaw the task force to build today’s psychiatry manual, slammed doctors who say Trump is mentally ill. He has been scathing about the president, branding him a narcissist and ruthless self-promoter.
He, however, dismisses the scores of ‘armchair diagnoses’ from health professionals who claim Trump must be mentally ill.
According to Dr. Frances, the 71-year-old does not fit the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder, delusional disorder, and dementia, the illnesses most commonly ascribed to him.
Dr. Scott Wooder, a family doctor from Ontario, said: ‘I have concerns with physicians giving clinical opinions about politicians. It opens a can of worms. Let constitutional safeguards do their jobs. Oppose Trump because of his policies, not his alleged medical problems.’
Dr. Steve Joffe, a physician and ethicist of the University of Pennsylvania, says ‘I am leery of diagnosis from a distance, because of the risk that political disagreement biases medical judgment’, but he adds that he feels Dr. Vox’s piece was ‘careful’ and ‘concludes with a question rather than a diagnosis.’
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