Whenever I have my annual physical – or a wellness visit from a nurse practitioner – I get a quickie cognitive test. They give me three words to remember, and then have me draw a clock face and fill in the time they designate. After further examination, they ask me to repeat the three words.
That is no big deal unless you fail. (For the record, I never have). If you do fail, that can lead to a recommendation for a more serious cognitive test. This is a matter of common procedure for folks over 70 – at least if you have a competent doctor.
In making her campaign announcement, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said that all politicians older than 75 should have mandatory standard cognitive tests. I think that is a bit of a stretch. However, a case can be made for the President. After all, any diminishment of mental faculty by a President can have extremely dire impacts.
We know that from President Roosevelt’s performance at Yalta when he was mentally incapacitated and near death – figuratively a dead man walking. He was literally dead less than two months after that disastrous conference.
President Biden has had his annual physical, and the docs report that he is in good health – no signs of a stroke, Parkinson’s Disease. But what about his cognitive health. On that, the doctors were more vague. Yes, they said his mental functions were ok – and that he is sufficiently fit to carry out the duties as President. But … there was no indication that he was given a standard cognitive test. We know from past medical reports that he did not have the test previously.
I am not going to play doctor. I am going to raise the question as to why Biden is not getting the standard cognitive tests that virtually every other senior gets. The fact that he avoids them creates questions.
There is no doubt that Biden has shown signs of aging — physically and mentally. He occasionally loses his train-of-thought, forgets stuff or has that senior bewildered look – those so-called “senior moments.”. What we see from a distance may only be early signs of decline – but not necessarily alarming. Perhaps the most significant result of any cognitive decline is Biden’s avoidance of press conferences and unscripted public appearances. But he should assure the American public that he is not only in good condition today, but that the prospects are good for the next five years, if he wants to be in the Oval Office for a second term.
I am not drawing any conclusion, but It is curious that he will not get the standard mental acuity testing that most older folks get routinely.