Mitch McConnell's bizarre freezing spells have once again perturbed the nation, but the aging Senator says his brain are clear.
The senator's office has released a letter from Capitol attending physician Brian Monahan, who claims there is "no evidence" that McConnell has had a "stroke, [mini-stroke] or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease."
Indeed, Monahan said the 81-year-old Kentucky Republican does not appear, per "brain MRI imaging, EEG study and consultations with several neurologists for a comprehensive neurology assessment" to have any "seizure disorder" at all. As CNN reports, a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity said McConnell was evaluated by four neurologists following this latest freeze.
As Monahan notes, the senator did suffer a fall in March of this year, though the letter does not mention that during that incident, McConnell also got a concussion and broke a rib. It took him over a month to recover from that fall, and he returned to Congress in mid-April.
This latest letter follows another the Capitol physician sent McConnell's office immediately after the senator's second fall last week, which said he was "medically clear" to keep working and that "occasional lightheadedness" is common after a concussion. Monahan also suggested that McConnell could have been dehydrated as well.
McConnell's strange episode last week marked the second time that the octogenarian has appeared to freeze up publicly this summer after a similar situation in late July, rendering him seemingly unable to speak in response to questions at an event.
In the aftermath of both of McConnell's freezing spells, speculation has run rampant about what might be going on there, with unaffiliated neurologists suggesting that the incidents look a lot like focal seizures, which cause electrical surges in the brain but do not necessarily lead to unconsciousness.
In spite of having been evaluated and scanned, medical experts have noted in various press reports that there's still a good chance something bigger is going on with McConnell than his office is letting on — or, perhaps, than the senator even knows himself.
As the Washington Post notes, the senator's March fall was not his first — for roughly four years he's suffered multiple falls, and although the public knows about the resulting concussion from the last one, we still don't know the cause of it.
As for the imaging taken following this latest freeze-up, CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta notes that some of the scans may not be quite up to snuff to explain what's going on with McConnell because EEGs are really just a "snapshot in time" of what's happening in one's brain at the moment it's taken.
"Someone could have a seizure, then have a normal EEG, and have a seizure later," Gupta said. "They can give you a fair amount of information, although they can’t definitely rule out a seizure."
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