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Bill Clinton brain damaged?
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, April 13, 2008

Possibly, says one doctor:
One of the savviest politicians of our generation, known for his wit, charm, and calm under extreme pressure, Bill Clinton appears out of character in the speeches and interviews televised since his bypass surgery September 6, 2004—and his mental deterioration may be accelerating. Remember, this is the president who withstood public impeachment before the entire world for his relationship with Monica Lewinski without once losing control. Now, he is easily angered by hecklers, and makes factual mistakes and racial slurs while aggressively defending his wife’s campaign for presidency. Everyone sees his mental and emotional decline, yet to date, no medical professionals have spoken out about the cause or offered help.


One of the best-kept secrets in medicine is the brain damage caused during bypass surgery. During my 40 years of medical practice I have never heard a doctor warn a patient before bypass surgery that an expected complication is memory loss. After surgery when the family complains of dad’s fits of anger, I have never heard a doctor admit that personality change is a common consequence of surgery. Yet these well-recognized side effects have been reported in medical journals since 1969.1

Brain damage during bypass surgery is so common that hospital personnel refer to it as “pump head.” The primary cause is emboli produced during surgery from clamping the aorta and from the “heart-lung machine.” This machine pumps blood to keep the patient alive while the heart is stopped during the operation. Unfortunately, this pump also introduces toxic gases, fat globules, and bits of plastic debris into the bloodstream of the patient under anesthesia. Once they are in the bloodstream, these particles migrate to the brain where they can clog capillaries and prevent adequate amounts of blood and oxygen from flowing to the brain. Essentially, all patients experience brain emboli during surgery and for many the damage is permanent.
I've always heard the side-effects of that sort of surgery were a short fuze and memory loss, or perhaps, memory problems. I know, for instance, that the likelihood of Alzheimer and senile dementia go up after those sorts of surgeries (and/or congestive heart failure). I also have to say I never really considered any of that when it came to Bill Clinton, but I have indeed noted that for such a savvy politician in the past, he's displayed none of that during Hillary's run. He's almost been inept at times, certainly off his game at others and sometimes seemingly tone-deaf. The latest example was him bringing the sniper story back up when it had finally died down.

McDougall goes on with some stats:
In 2001, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 5-years after bypass surgery 42% of patients showed decline in mental function of approximately 20 percent or more. A study published this year (2008) in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery using MRI testing just after bypass surgery found brain damage in 51% of patients. Three years after their time on the bypass pump, significant permanent reduction in mental capacity was identified in 31% of patients. I am not talking major stroke here; but these patients can't remember names or numbers as they once did, experience sleep disturbances (including nightmares), suffer mood swings, and lose intellectual acuity. Approximately 30 percent of people suffer persistent depression and some even contemplate suicide.
Now I'm not sure Clinton falls into any of those numbers, but he sure seems different than he was prior to the surgery. I initially wrote it off to not being on the campaign trail for a few years or not being the candidate himself and so the urgency wasn't quite the same, but I have certainly seen something very different between the Bill Clinton now and the Bill Clinton of yore.

I'm not claiming this to be the case, but with my own experience with my mother and others I've known, it is a plausible explanation.

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Previous Comments to this Post 

What is Hillary’s excuse?
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
Some of that doesn’t sound feasible. There’s suppose to be a blood-brain barrier which would stop some of the causes listed. Although I do believe there is an opportunity for damage from oxygen deprivation and some of the other causes listed.

Bill Clinton is 62. He’s not too young to have begun some form of dementia. In fact the age where bypass becomes common is probably not far from when dementia also begins to develop in general.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I’ve been wondering the same about Jimmy Carter. After he published Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Carter ended up facing mass resignations from the Carter Center and having to make a public apology for a passage in his book that supported Palestinian suicide bombings.

However much one disagrees with Carter’s politics, it seems to me that in the past he was a savvy enough politician to avoid immediate public humiliation from his own actions.
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Bill Clinton doesn’t seem any different to me. He still wants to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral, and that’s not particularly suited to someone now playing second fiddle.

He’s also very rich now, of course. That might have made him a little soft.

But as I was saying to someone the other day, I won’t believe that the Clintons are out of this election until the polls close on election day, and even then I would keep an eye on them.

Barack Obama is an extremely vulnerable candidate, and I would maintain that he could be out of the race in the blink of a news cycle. He is not a Lewinsky-proof candidate, for instance.

Jimmy Carter seems like the same bitter prick he has been since Reagan beat him. He probably still complains that Reagan didn’t take notes when they had their meeting during the transition after the ’80 election.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
"...without once losing control. Now, he is easily angered..."

I think this is not a totally accurate description. I have not paid much atention to him lately or at least tried not to), but I do remember him having a few tantrums, etc. when he was president. He was never quite as cool and mistake free as legend has it.

"but these patients can’t remember names or numbers as they once did, experience sleep disturbances (including nightmares), suffer mood swings, and lose intellectual acuity."

I have all those symptoms. My memory has evidently been so damaged that I don’t even remember having bypass surgery. I would be willing to bet that there are some unkind souls here who would testify to my loss of intellectual acuity.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
but I do remember him having a few tantrums, etc. when he was president. He was never quite as cool and mistake free as legend has it.
I wasn’t even aware that he had a "cool and mistake free" reputation. He was always getting red-faced and angry and shaking that foot-long finger at someone.

He once blew up at Brit Hume for asking a question he didn’t like at the Rose Garden ceremony where he introduced Ruth Bader Ginsburg as his USSC nominee.

And mistake free? Gays in the military his first weeks in the White House? Waco? Travel Office firings? The raid on Foster’s office? Getting fellated in the Oval Office toilet by a White House intern?

That oaf’s brain didn’t need any help from open-heart surgery to show damage.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
"He probably still complains..."

I just saw part of Carter’s appearance on Stephanopolos’s(?) show. He was complaining about Ted Kennedy refusing to shake hands with him when he was nominated. Among his other gems he opined that the superdelegates should echo the will of the majority of primary voters, except when they wish to vote contrary to that will. Sounds familiar, eh?
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"He was always getting red-faced and angry and shaking that foot-long finger at someone."
"And mistake free?..."

Precisely. His reputation as the consummate politician was never totally accurate.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I saw Carter also. He was blaming Kennedy, but he didn’t drag it into the conversation from nowhere: he was trying to explain that the Democrats in 2008 weren’t as badly split and could expect the un nominated to support the nominated, at least superficially.

Speaking of mental fumbles, did you notice that NSA Advisor Hadley kept saying "Nepal" when he meant "Tibet"? And that Stephanopolous didn’t seem to notice he was doing it?

Written By: kishnevi
URL: http://
His reputation as the consummate politician was never totally accurate.
I always think of him as the consummate psychopath. That’s what got him through. He was a sloppy politician.

Commenting on the fall of Eliot Spitzer, I said that the incident showed the difference between someone like Spitzer who believed that he was above the law and someone like Clinton who could prove it.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Precisely. His reputation as the consummate politician was never totally accurate.

Although I still maintain he really doesn’t have his heart in becoming the First Lady. And these mistakes are part of how it manifests itself.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I had bypass surgery March 2002. After moving to Washington I became concerned over memory loss. Alzheimer’s frightened me. I spoke to my cardiologist and he suggested, to relieve my worries, that I see a neurologist. I did and after memory tests-I did very well-a CRT and a MRI I was told that I had "numerous mini-strokes." When I inquired as to the number she said "too numerous to count."
It seems to be my short term memory that is affected. I used to be a voracious reader and now cannot concentrate long enough to read a book.
In looking on the internet I found some articles that suggested (unporven) that the cholesterol lowering meds played a role in memory loss.
So whether the loss is due to aging dementia, meds, or the bypass itself I don’t know. I do know that memory loss is better than the alternative.
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I still maintain he really doesn’t have his heart in becoming the First Lady.
Put your coffee down.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
I believe the theory that bypass surgery may have affected BC’s behavior is a tenable one. I had not considered it. I find it interesting that the commenters are skeptical.
Written By: feeblemind
URL: http://
I believe the theory that bypass surgery may have affected BC’s behavior is a tenable one. I had not considered it. I find it interesting that the commenters are skeptical.
You see, if anything, his behavior is improved.

The theory that bypass surgery affected his behavior would have maybe worked if he’d had the surgery, say, before he waved his johnson at Paula Jones. Brain damage could have helped explain that. Or if he had the surgery before his bouts of phone sex with Monica. Brain damage could also have helped explain that.

I haven’t seen any recent exploits that would match those.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Most of the reason Clinton got away with so much was because the media simply refused to report it. When they were forced to report it, it was after the Clinton spin machine, which was driven to a great extent by Clinton’s handlers, had a chance to work the message. With the bimbo eruptions especially, the witnesses had already been intimidated by the time their story came out.
Written By: ben
URL: http://
I tend to agree with those above who question Clinton’s ’consummate ability’ as a politician. As I tell my students, in the race for US President, *someone* has to win and we (and especially the mSM) hate to admit the winner could be by default. So we *always* have a convenient reason to show that the winner was more-or-less inevitable. And we usually decide that the campaign manager of the winner is a certified genius, since he obviously helped the inevitable happen. (I know, I know, they’re contradictory, but check the history.) Except maybe for Ed Rollins managing Reagan’s 84 run. Basically I think we all agree that the random non-political grandmother could have run that one.

Anyway, Clinton wins in 92, perhaps largely because disaffected Reagan Democrats (and others) go for Perot. (Arguable, but surely not to be discarded as impossible.) Carville gets (unwarranted, I think) credit for a win and Clinton gets credit for being a ’consummate politician’ when in reality they just perhaps made fewer mistakes than their opponents *AND* the MSM was in the tank (as usual) for the Democratic candidate. This proved to be enough to win.

Then, Clinton used his status as President to bully those who opposed him. Seriously. Go back and take a look. The guy is a bully. (Admittedly not a really very good one without presidential clout, but . . .) He has been getting away with this bullying behavior until Hillary’s campaign began to unravel. The MSM no longer defers so easily to his bullying tactics and it becomes more visible.

I tend to think that as his ability to successfully bully his opponents he is exhibiting the usual bully response, which is to escalate. However, I’m not discounting the heart bypass theory, either.
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://
Here’s the difference: Bill doesn’t have the media and his legion of sheep covering up for him. That counts for a lot
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The guy is a bully.
I would say that being a bully is just a guilty pleasure for Bill Clinton. When he was president, he was a great deal worse than a bully. He was especially fond of brutal Party discipline among Democrats, for instance. And those Democrats who have now turned against his return to the White House at Hillary’s side must be concerned about the payback if Hillary overtakes Obama and wins in November.

The Clintons are not the sort of people who you want to be on the wrong side of when they have power. And it’s about a lot more than bullying, which is just the way Bill entertains himself.
Written By: Martin McPhillips
"And that Stephanopolous didn’t seem to notice he was doing it?"

I have never paid much attention to what Stephy says. There is quite a bit he doesn’t notice.

" Although I still maintain he really doesn’t have his heart in becoming the First Lady."

Probably not. Right now he has total freedom. As first house spouse he would have to follow rules and regulations, and he would have a schedule to adhere to and commitments, something he has never been good at. No self-discipline.

"I believe the theory that bypass surgery may have affected BC’s behavior is a tenable one."

The counter argument is that his behavior has not really changed. People are just finally admitting that the emperor has no clothes.

I agree with JorgX (excuse the familiarity). It is not like Clinton was opposed by someone with the popularity of, for example, Reagan. Bush Sr. was quite unpopular, and bob dole was, well, you know. His Viagra commercials are more inspiring than his campaign speeches. Now he is Bob Dole (heh).

" However, I’m not discounting the heart bypass theory, either"

Either or both theories are possible.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Bill Clinton brain damaged?"
Nah, he is just plain old fuc@ing up.
Written By: Is
URL: http://
Brain damage is causing him to act this way? I still maintain that Bill has no intention of seeing Hillary become President.
Written By: Tim M
URL: http://
Just recently, Obama told us words to the effect that being a cnservative is a Psychological problem. A short in the brain box.Apparently, he’s unable to explain people thinking opposite him any other way.

Now, along comes Bill Clinton, causing image problems for Hillary. And voila’, out pops the argument that Bill is dain brammged.

Seems an odd link.
Written By: Bithead

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