Physical finds Biden 'fit' for the job, but report does not say he had a cognitive exam
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The White House on Friday released a copy of results from President Biden’s first physical exam, which claims he is fit to lead the nation and highlights observations including his “stiffened” walking pattern.
Biden, who turns 79 on Saturday, was evaluated for his first physical since taking office by White House physician Kevin O’Connor. According to O’Connor’s examination, Biden “remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”
While O’Connor did not report any vital health concerns regarding the president, the results of his exam noted that Biden’s current medical considerations include “a-fib with normal ventricular response, hyperlipidemia, gastroesophageal reflux, seasonal allergies, spinal arthritis and mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of both feet.”
U.S. President Joe Biden, who was given a physical this morning at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, walks from Marine One upon his return to the White House in Washington, U.S., November 19, 2021.
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque )
O’Connor, who has served as Biden’s doctor since 2009, noted two observations in Biden that have changed over recent time, including the frequent clearing of his throat and a stiffened gait. He also highlighted the discovery of “mild peripheral neuropathy” in Biden’s foot, but a cause could not be determined.
Speaking to Fox News after examining the results of the exam, Dr. Marc Siegel, a Clinical Professor of Medicine and a practicing internist at NYU Langone Medical Center, said he has some concerns about information lacking from the report that would provide a clearer understanding of the gait issue Biden faces.
“I don’t like that they ascribe his gait issues to a broken foot. First of all, why did he fall,” Siegel inquired, adding that the report also “prescribes the gait problem to spondylosis.”
“That’s an incomplete characterization,” Siegel continued, stressing the importance of understanding why Biden is facing certain health issues. “What I want to know is, where’s the MRIs and where’s the EMGs?
“They did a thorough neurological exam, but they also need to do a nerve conduction EMG, and they need to do an MRI of the brain and the spinal cord to try and explain where this gait problem comes from,” Siegel said.
O’Connor’s report did not include a cognitive exam of the president, as several of his critics have said should be done. Siegel suggested that other tests to evaluate Biden’s health could “rule out” things that could potentially be associated with cognitive decline.
“If we’re looking into neurological causes for the gait change, I don’t think the way they characterize that in the physical is sufficient,” Siegel said. “I want more information. I want to know what the MRIs show, and I want to know what the nerve conduction EMG shows to rule out things that are more extensive, that by the way, can be associated with cognitive changes like mental status, like dementia.”
“This is not a fully characterized neurological assessment of somebody with a gait problem, and I want to know why,” Siegel added, noting that normal pressure hydrocephalus, a condition relating to fluid on the brain, is a “possibility” for certain medical issues. “That can be associated with cognitive loss.”
O’Connor also noted that during a “regularly scheduled screening colonoscopy” a “benign-appearing polyp was identified in the ascending colon.” That polyp was “removed without difficulty.”
The report, which stated Biden “works out at least five days per week,” noted the president currently “takes three common prescription medications and two common over-the-counter medications.”
Since before he announced his candidacy for president, and especially since taking office, Biden’s overall health and cognitive state have been a concern for many Americans. From persistent coughs and stumbles to his mangling of words and awkward mannerisms, Biden has faced questions.
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