[Paleopsych] Medical Diagnosis of Bush: Presenile Dementia

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Tue Oct 12 13:48:36 UTC 2004

(from a letter in the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly)
When George Meets John
James Fallows's description of John Kerry's debating skills ("When George 
Meets John," July/August Atlantic) was interesting, but what was most 
remarkable was Fallows's documentation of President Bush's mostly 
overlooked changes over the past decade -- specifically, "the striking 
decline in his sentence-by-sentence speaking skills." Fallows points to 
"speculations that there must be some organic basis for the President's 
peculiar mode of speech -- a learning disability, a reading problem, 
dyslexia or some other disorder," but correctly concludes, "The main 
problem with these theories is that through his forties Bush was perfectly 

Diaries </section/Diary> :: ira's diary <http://ira.dailykos.com/> ::
I, too, felt that something organic was wrong with President Bush, most 
probably dyslexia. But I was unaware of what Fallows pointed out so 
clearly: that Bush's problems have been developing slowly, and that just a 
decade ago he was an articulate debater, "artful indeed in steering 
questions and challenges to his desired subjects," who "did not pause 
before forcing out big words, as he so often does now, or invent mangled 
new ones." Consider, in contrast, the present: "the informal Q&As he has 
tried to avoid," "Bush's recent faltering performances," "his unfortunate 
puzzled-chimp expression when trying to answer questions," "his stalling, 
defensive pose when put on the spot," "speaking more slowly and less 
Not being a professional medical researcher and clinician, Fallows cannot 
be faulted for not putting two and two together. But he was 100 percent 
correct in suggesting that Bush's problem cannot be "a learning disability, 
a reading problem, [or] dyslexia," because patients with those problems 
have always had them. Slowly developing cognitive deficits, as demonstrated 
so clearly by the President, can represent only one diagnosis, and that is 
"presenile dementia"! Presenile dementia is best described to nonmedical 
persons as a fairly typical Alzheimer's situation that develops 
significantly earlier in life, well before what is usually considered old 
age. It runs about the same course as typical senile dementias, such as 
classical Alzheimer's -- to incapacitation and, eventually, death, as with 
President Ronald Reagan, but at a relatively earlier age. President Bush's 
"mangled" words are a demonstration of what physicians call 
"confabulation," and are almost specific to the diagnosis of a true 
dementia. Bush should immediately be given the advantage of a considered 
professional diagnosis, and started on drugs that offer the possibility of 
retarding the slow but inexorable course of the disease.
Joseph M. Price, M.D.
Carsonville, Mich.

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