As I am watching the state of the Union Address last night, the camera pans the audience revealing in real-time the faces and body habitus of the members of Congress, the House Representatives and guests.
My brain kicks into the Neurology mode and I am reminded of a conference convened by the World Federation of Neurology in Argentina where Dr. James F. Toole discussed the delicate subject of what must be done if the head of state is afflicted with a Neurological disease that impairs his or her thinking and thought processing mechanism.
Dr. Toole gave examples of famous leaders and showed videos of heads of State with different Neurological incapacitation which would not be apparent in the body as much as in the thinking process and thus impair decision making.
He gave the example of Mr. Reagan who suffered from Alzheimer for the last four years of his Presidency and yet continued to call the shots of one of the most powerful countries in the world. Were his decisions valid? Or were they the machinations of a mind riddled with memory deficits? Or was someone else calling the shots? perhaps the leaders of another country that have a vested interest in the support of the USA?
He also gave the examples of Hitler and showed his “pill rolling” tremor associated with Parkinson and thus with dementia. He showed videos of the head of state of Sweden whose Dementia had reached such levels that he would run out naked to his palace gates and had to be brought back by guards. Who was running these countries and who was making important decisions of war and peace when these leaders were in office?
As the camera panned the audience and President Obama, the clarity of his eyes and his body language left no doubt that he was not suffering from any major dementing disease. However the rest of the crowd was another story.
You could see aging faces, bodies dissipated with drink and overeating, rhinophymas from excessive drinking and gnarled hands from chronic debilitating arthritis. There were some whose eyes had a sly look and some whose were glazed with the love of another country.
You could also see the excesses of corrective medicines in some of the Congressmen and women with telltale side effects, since the camera was unscrupulously even in panning each of them at close quarters.
Most strange was the Speaker of the House who almost broke into tears at the mention that he was a bar sweeper in his youth and had risen to the ranks by his bootstraps (and perhaps by a hand up by some forces).
The physician in me balked at his near breakdown into tears, though a one time observer would have thought it cute for a diehard politician to show such emotions. I was primed by the fact that on 60 minutes his wife (I think and he himself) had mentioned that he often breaks into tears and he did so in the interview.
Emotional lability among other things could imply frontal lobe dysfunction. If this is true, then will decisions for you, me and the USA be coming out of a frontal lobe that is dysfunctional? The sad thing in all this is that instead instead of getting a neurological evaluation and treatment, most leaders in office will hide the fact and compound the injury to themselves and to others.
It is similar to being a football player, the glory deters seeking treatment and fear of the opposition using this puts it further into wraps.
This brings me back to the problem that Dr. Toole had brought out to the International experts of Neurology at the World Congress of Neurology and that was:
There is nothing wrong in becoming old or sick, but when that sickness is of a neurological nature that affects your thinking, feeling, coordinating part of the brain and effects the executive functions…………..then we are on thin ice.
Many wars have been waged because of egos of the leaders of one country or another.
This impending disaster of a dysfunctional brain is what Dr. Toole brought to attention to the international leadership of physicians: He recommended:
Every head of State and the governing bodies (Congress and the House or the Parliament) must have, not only a personal physician but a panel of physicians who must examine, discuss and decide if these people are neurologically capable of making sane decisions!
The camera continues to pan over the members of Congress and the unvarnished truth of their mental status is written over their foreheads like a neon sign. I realize with a start that all the pictures that I see of the various members of Congress and the House in the newspaper are “touched up”
I spiral back to my childhood where I am sitting with my grandfather and he is reading the newspaper, which has a large picture of the ruling members of Communist Russia. To my youthful eyes they look old, and I ask him if they are.
He replies: “They are all in their seventies and soon they will all die and Russia will crumble” and so it did.
For further medical details regarding Presidential disabililty and its preventions read: Dr Toole’s closed sessions now published as a book