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Doctor Claims Biden’s Forgetfulness Doesn’t Mean Cognitively Unfit

via ProPublica
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A recent special counsel report raised concerns about President Joe Biden’s memory, suggesting that prospective jurors might view him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

However, medical professionals emphasize that isolated examples cannot diagnose a memory problem, as memory can be influenced by various factors beyond aging.

Stress, sleep, hunger, and situational circumstances can affect memory and cognition, independent of age.

Dr. Leah Croll, board-certified neurologist, and assistant professor of neurology at Temple University, said, “There are different variables that have to be taken into account when you try and understand whether a slip up is worrisome or not.”

“There are so many different factors that affect how well your memory and cognition are working in any given moment,” she continued.

“When we think about how someone’s memory and cognition function in any given moment, the reality is that they don’t function at a constant level,” she explained.

“They’re always changing and fluctuating depending on what factors or variables are on board at that time,” added the neurologist.

Dr. Yalda Safai, a board-certified psychiatrist, said, “Just because somebody has problems remembering things from the past, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to make good decisions or it doesn’t mean that their executive function is impaired with aging,”

Dr. Richard Isaacson, a preventive neurologist at the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases Florida, said, “it’s impossible to accurately judge whether a brain change may be due to the normal aging process versus compared to a neurodegenerative disease or just due to a disease without a formal evaluation, examination, cognitive assessments, and when needed, brain imaging.”

“Things like being unable to do your finances and stay on top of your monthly bills or consistently having a pattern of memory problems that pose safety concerns,” explained Dr. Croll.

Dr. Isaacson said, “As we age, there are aspects of cognitive function, specifically related to judgment and wisdom that actually improve over time. And you know, when a person is seasoned and has experience dealing with complex problems, that experience may come in handy when either dealing under pressure or having to make a decision.”

“These [traits] can manifest as having a better handle on your reactions to various situations and being able to think before you act which can be extremely useful as we get older,” added Dr. Croll

“Having wisdom from many lived experiences, of course, is another form of knowledge and cognitive fitness,” she concluded.

While memory naturally declines with age, high-pressure situations can also impact memory recall.

Doctors stress that memory lapses do not necessarily indicate impaired decision-making or executive functioning.

They highlight the need for comprehensive assessments of memory and cognitive functioning, emphasizing that isolated examples cannot replace in-depth evaluations.

Experts note that aging can bring cognitive benefits, such as improved impulse control and better integration of information into decision-making.

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