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Neurology Today:
doi: 10.1097/01.NT.0000369552.90072.a7
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Why The Truth About The Health of Our Leaders Matters

TOOLE, JAMES F. MD

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Dr. Toole is the Walter C. Teagle Professor of Neurology, Emeritus at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC. He had reviewed the book for the publisher previously and supplied a quote for the book jacket.

FDR's Deadly Secret. By Steven Lomazow, MD and Eric Fettmann. 296 Pages. Public Affairs: Perseus Books Group 2010.

There is more and more evidence that subterfuge and misinformation have been part and parcel for maintaining the image of leaders of the world who have been impaired, if not totally unable to serve in office due to physical and or mental illness. In many cases ineptitude caused by dementia or paranoia have led to local or regional as well as national and international armed conflict. In the past these conflicts were local, regional, or national but now the risk of intercontinental nuclear missiles makes the danger global.

No nation can protect itself unless the very best brains are in leadership positions! Examples from history with warriors equipped with swords, slings, and arrows abound and they were welcomed home as heroes. Now in war entire cities are targets for intercontinental nuclear-tipped missiles.

A prime example of this is Franklin Delano Roosevelt whose disability from poliomyelitis was kept quiet and whose untreated hypertension with heart failure was ignored by his doctors for fear of retribution if medical management went awry. Near death, he was a non-performer at the crucial Yalta meeting at the end of WW II. So too was it said that Sir Winston Churchill was demented and unable to perform, leaving Joseph Stalin, the sole person whose paranoid mind controlled the division of major portions of the world into the Soviet or the Western Blocks, including Poland, Vietnam, Korea and others, each of which led to international crises and national disasters, some of which persist to this day.

Now we have evidence through the sleuthing of the authors of FDR's Deadly Secret that FDR had a malignant melanoma above his left eyebrow in his left forehead, which the authors opine may have led to intracranial metastases that further disabled his capacity for mental processing. It seems that Roosevelt did have a melanoma, which was hidden from the public by altering the photographs of his face, creating the false image of a vigorous, healthy president capable of leading our country during the worse crisis that had befallen it through World War II and negotiating a peace treaty.

From this fascinating tale, one follows the logic of the authors who reach thoughtful conclusions. They also agree with John Milton Cooper, Jr., the author of Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009) that the disabilities of Thomas Woodrow Wilson during the Versailles Treaty negotiations at the end of World War I — when he had a disabling stroke — shaped subsequent historical events. By most accounts, it led to the United States not joining the League of Nations, which contributed by extrapolation to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and World War II.

Figure. DR. JAMES F....
Figure. DR. JAMES F....
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If these surmises are correct, the medical profession is guilty of subterfuge and was also caught in an insoluble quandary: The oath that physicians have of keeping the patient's information private balanced against the duty of a citizen to do what is best for the country.

Once more physicians are in the “bind of duty” to patient or to society. How this will turn out over time with the restructuring of health care and the collection of data from all citizens regarding their health status and their private lives is as yet unknown. Consider, for example, that the scourge of AIDS is worldwide, yet the reporting methods for case finding for therapeutic reasons and for isolation of the carriers has been rendered a private matter.

As the United States changes its health-care system it is acquiring a database on all — this matter must be addressed. How better could it be addressed than starting at the top by answering the question: Should the physical and mental health of candidates for high office be a matter of public record?

The authors have constructed a credible case about what might be an incredible cover-up. The issue continues to be relevant today. One can only keep in mind the melanoma of John McCain who was running for the presidency of the United States and who, to his credit we are told, did have a physical and neurological examination to determine his physical state and prognosis before becoming a candidate for president of the United States.

Steven Lomazow and Eric Fettmann have done a service for the nation by publishing this book, which adds fuel to the thought that people with poor prognosis for survival throughout their term in office should not be candidates.

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FOR MORE ON FDR'S DEADLY SECRET

Visit http://bit.ly/dzYNy8 for the Feb. 4 Neurology Today interview with Steven Lomazow, MD, and Eric Fettmann, the authors of FDR's Deadly Secret. For any of the conversation missed in the print edition, download the podcast of the interview at www.neurotodayonline.com.

©2010 American Academy of Neurology

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