Fox medical contributor: Voters 'have a right to know' about their leaders' cognitive fitness

February 19, 2023
Jen Krausz

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel addressed the apparent cognitive decline of President Joe Biden and several lawmakers and the lack of transparency their handlers are exhibiting about their mental abilities. 

"I believe the voters of the states involved have a right to know whether their senator is fit for the job and able to serve," Siegel said Friday. "While technology can help [Sen. John] Fetterman and teleprompters can help Biden this isn't enough. Are they up to the job? We need more transparency and info. The lives of others are on the line based on the important decisions they have to make."

Specifically about Biden, Seigel said, "The majority of the American public (even Democrats) feel he is too old to run, but the issue isn't age, it's the question of fitness," referencing his frequent misstatements, stumbling over his words, seeming confusion, and gaffes.

Biden underwent a recent medical physical that revealed several health issues, but did not seem to include a cognitive test despite Republican lawmakers requesting one. One of his medical issues, a stiff gait, is often seen with dementia.

"Tip off" to cognitive problems

"Biden, the issue is that his stiff legged gait and frequent cognitive errors could be a tip off to a brain problem such as dementia or normal pressure hydrocephalus, but the workup would be an MRI or brain imaging study and neuropsych testing including a cognitive exam such as the Montreal cognitive test. The mini-mental status exam that was mentioned is very limited and wouldn't add much," Siegel told Fox News Digital.

"It is very noteworthy that [Biden's physician Dr. Kevin] O'Connor ascribed the stiff gait to arthritis of the spine and peripheral neuropathy and mentioned physical examination to rule out serious neurological disorders such as MS and stroke, but made no mention of MRI of the brain or neurocognitive tests. These are significant omissions in the report esp given the frequency and severity of his so-called gaffs," Siegel added.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman (D) was in the hospital twice in a week, first for dizziness and then checked himself in for clinical depression treatment.

Fetterman suffered a stroke in May but continued to campaign and was elected despite nearly incoherent statements and admitting that he needed a teleprompter to answer debate questions.

Compassion with questions

"We should feel compassion and as a physician I am glad he is coming forward and can be a role model for others, but at the same time clinical depression requiring hospitalization is severe and according to a Cochrane review especially difficult to treat after stroke requiring combinations of medicine and therapy," Siegel said.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is at least retiring at the end of her term in 2024 at the age of 91, but her cognitive decline is already so advanced that she forget she announced her resignation last week and also left the Senate floor unaware of whether she had voted for anything.

"Feinstein too appears to be well past the point where she can function effectively," Siegel wrote.

It may be time to require cognitive testing for lawmakers past a certain age, as brand new GOP candidate Nikki Haley has suggested. She sets the age at 75, which would include Biden and current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

10% of Congress over 75

If Haley's suggestion becomes a requirement, it would also include 10% of Congress.

With so many older lawmakers, though, it seems like a good idea to make sure they can actually still fulfill their duties rather than being turned into a puppet like Biden, Fetterman, and Feinstein surely are at this point.

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