Neurotopia

Some people have been noticing erratic behavior from republican nominee John McCain lately. His most recent seems to be slight, but rather odd. Specifically, he appears to have developed ptosis— a drooping eyelid— which could of course be related to any number of causes, from an autoimmune attack on cholinergic receptors such as that seen in myasthenia gravis, to diabetes.

Ptosis can also be the result of a brain tumor that affects the oculomotor nerve (cranial nerve III). Sudden development of the condition at old age following multiple bouts of melanoma (which has a penchant for metastasizing to the brain) would seem to be cause for concern, so I wonder if any neurologists would like to weigh in?

McCain also seems to be hiring a very expensive makeup artist who may be assisting in the coverup of the condition. I really, really wish he’d release his medical records in full so that people can stop speculating about the ramifications of a chronically ill president with a potentially untreatable brain tumor, and his vice president with all the foreign policy experience and political saavy of a Hun.

Comments

  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    September 25, 2008

    and his vice president with all the foreign policy experience and political saavy of a Hun.

    Slander of huns noted.

  2. #2 Orac
    September 25, 2008

    Personally, I hadn’t noticed this.

    However, if true, yes, it could be a tumor, but there are other potential explanations as well, for instance a benign cause related to his melanoma surgery. Remember, he had a lymph node dissection in his neck, which can damage the sympathetic trunk. Alternatively, late scarring could have entrapped it, leading to Horner’s syndrome.

    As far as the “cancer-ridden” conspiracy mongering thing, I’ve commented on that this very day:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/09/john_mccain_a_dead_man_walking_not_so_fast.php

  3. #3 Evil Monkey
    September 25, 2008

    Thanks, Orac. Knew we could count on you!!!

  4. #4 Jennifer Yanoschak, MD
    September 25, 2008

    I have not noticed the ptosis, but I have not been paying attention as I primarily listen to and read the news. I’m a neurologist who has been seeing patients for over 10 years. I have seen ptosis hundreds of times and have yet to see it as the first and only symptom of a brain tumor. Let me also note that ptosis is a physical finding, not a behavior, so your lead-in is a bit confusing to me. Ptosis can also be caused by catatact surgery which is one of the top reasons in his age group.

  5. #5 Evil Monkey
    September 25, 2008

    Approaching it as somebody with a psych background, I’d consider it a behavior (or maybe I’ve been in an eyeblink conditioning lab too long). Good info though. Thanks!

    Of course, if there were other symptoms of a brain tumor the campaign would be doing their best to hide them from us. Not that any of this means anything anyway.

  6. #6 Ian
    September 26, 2008

    So begin numerous humorless tumor rumors….

  7. #7 Lab Rat
    September 30, 2008

    According to wikipedia: “The Huns were an early confederation of Central Asian equestrian nomads or semi-nomads”

    Which means they had considerably more foriegn policy experience and had travelled far far further than Sarah Palin. Given they lived at a time when the hight of transport technology was the horse that is not a happy thought.

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