Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Brain Checks for the Candidates

In the 1960s, a New York Times ad headlined "1,189 Psychiatrists Say Goldwater Is Psychologically Unfit to Be President" led to a $75,000 court judgment against a magazine by Sen. Barry Goldwater.

It now turns out that the publisher was prescient in making the mental health of candidates an election issue but lacked the technology to do it properly.

In today's Los Angeles Times, neuropsychiatrist Daniel Amen proposes a brain scan for potential presidents, arguing that a "national leader with brain problems can potentially cost millions of people their lives."

Dr. Amen's diagnosis: "Three of the last four presidents have shown clear brain pathology. President Reagan's Alzheimer's disease was evident during his second term in office...President Clinton's moral lapses and problems with bad judgment and excitement-seeking behavior--indicative of problems in the prefrontal cortex--eventually led to his impeachment."

As for George W. Bush, it looks dire. Dr. Amen, lacking Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography for the patient, nevertheless suspects "our current president's struggles with language and emotional rigidity are symptoms of temporal lobe pathology."

Dr. Amen, drawing on his long-distance diagnoses of Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein, is worried about "Rudy Giuliani's messy personal life, John McCain's temper and Hillary Clinton's inability to seem authentic."

He wants to check them out in one of his four conveniently located clinics or, failing that, they can at least answer 101 questions for the online interactive self-test on his web site. The future of mankind may be at stake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No, No, Didn't you see the Gallup Poll Results this week?

Poll results: "Republicans Report Much Better Mental Health Than All Others"

That doesn't count Straussians.