Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has a clean bill of health to continue to work after a Capitol physician failed to find any evidence of stroke or seizure following two incidents in which the 81-year-old senator froze up and seemed confused during press conferences. The senator’s office, for its part, attributes the incidents to “lightheadedness.”
But that explanation doesn’t hold water, said CNN medical expert Dr. Jonathan Reiner.
“I think you need to really read between the lines of what Dr. Monaghan wrote,” Reiner told host Erin Burnett. “He wrote, there is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder. The senator was administered an EEG, which is an electrical test of the brain. Think of it as sort of an EKG of the brain.”
“But an EEG will only be abnormal in somebody with epilepsy about half the time, because it’s a snapshot of what’s going on with the electrical activity of your brain the moment the test is done,” continued Reiner. “So if he’s not having a seizure, it’s not likely to be abnormal. What Dr. Monaghan wrote was, there is no evidence you have a seizure, although clinically that is what it really appears to be.”
“McConnell’s office attributed it to lightheadedness, as a lingering symptom of the concussion from his fall in March,” said Burnett. “Through that lens, is that reasonable?”
“No,” said Reiner bluntly. “…I take care of plenty of folks who have lightheadedness either in the setting of dehydration from working outside in the hot D.C. summer. Patients with lightheadedness don’t stare off for 10 to 30 seconds. That’s very consistent with a focal seizure. It would be really better for the senator’s team to be a little bit more transparent, because that explanation is a little laughable.”
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