Yes—you heard me right. As an experienced physician I am officially diagnosing our leading Republican candidate for President of the United States with a serious untreated brain disorder, one that would disqualify him from running for dog catcher, let alone the Presidency. In my professional opinion he clearly has stage 2 carbohydrate associated reversible brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. I know that you might find this somewhat incredible, so I suggest that we back up a bit so you can understand what I am really saying.
It’s All About the Symptoms.
Let’s start by examining how brain disorders in general are diagnosed. Common brain disorders like major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism and dementia are diagnosed on the basis of brain dysfunction symptoms. There are no fancy blood tests or biopsies available to diagnose these conditions. You simply go through a checklist of signs and symptoms that are typical for that particular disease and if enough of them seem to scream “yes, yes, yes”, you have your diagnosis. I know that this seems a little bit crude and simplistic but that is indeed how it works in the real world. The experts from DSM 5 who determine these diagnostic criteria sit around in a room drinking coffee and eating donuts deciding just what symptoms they will use to diagnose you or your loved ones next year. Several years ago I was diagnosing and treating a fair number of patients with ADHD and one of the insurance companies came down on me for not using their favorite questionnaire to make the diagnosis. They didn’t give a hoot about clinical judgment—they simply wanted to see a standard questionnaire in the patient’s chart. In other words, if someone is armed with these few thin sheets of paper, you or a robot for that matter could diagnose ADHD!
Like it or not, common brain disorders are diagnosed by symptoms and clinical course and thus you really never need to see or personally examine the patient to make such a tentative diagnosis. They don’t do brain biopsies and there are no blood tests to help us out. We simply observe how the signs and symptoms of the disease unfold over time. After all, one of the hallmark characteristics of a defined disease is the predictable way that it evolves over time.
Everyone Knows Trump’s Brain Isn’t Working Properly—the Question is Why?
There’s another big problem with Donald’s new CARB syndrome diagnosis—most of the medical profession has never heard of the disease. This disease is based on the emerging concept that long-term consumption of highly processed food can affect your brain in a negative and highly predictable way. When I say highly processed food I am referring to food containing excessive fructose mainly from added sugars, high glycemic carbohydrates especially from grains and excessive omega 6 fatty acids in relation to omega 3 fatty acids. Of course this is your average pizza, snack food or Twinkie. You don’t find this type of food in nature—it has to be manufactured by man. The CARB syndrome concept suggests that based on your genetic background, if you consume highly processed food over a long enough period of time bad things will happen to your brain. You will start to develop a long list of brain dysfunction symptoms and metabolic problems that eventually lead to full-blown CARB syndrome.
People with untreated CARB syndrome have both brain dysfunction symptoms that interfere with their ability to function in the real world and metabolic problems like diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity and similar problems that can be a gateway for a long list of chronic medical problems. As you can imagine, it might not be a good idea to elect a person with untreated CARB syndrome (or any common untreated brain disorder for that matter) to the highest office in our country. Over time these folks always crash and burn unless they are effectively treated.
Because brain disorders are diagnosed based on symptoms, Telemedicine (medicine from afar) can often reliably diagnose these conditions without the clinician ever putting a hand on the patient. So bottom line, it isn’t unreasonable for an experienced clinician like me who has never met Donald Trump to diagnosis him with a common brain disorder. With his constant TV presence his brain dysfunction symptoms are on display for anyone to see. Although others might disagree with my diagnosis, I think you get the picture—once you have been labeled as having a serious untreated brain disorder you are generally out of the Presidential race as fast as you can say “no more Muslims” or “Mexican’s are rapists”.
Let’s Run Through the Check List
In order to convince you that my diagnosis is valid, we need to run through the 22 symptoms of CARB syndrome that define the disease. As with any other brain disorder, not every patient with the disease will have every symptom. Patients with milder disease will have fewer symptoms yet over time existing symptoms will worsen and new symptoms will unfold. Also some of these symptoms overlap with other common brain disorders leading to significant diagnostic confusion, yet I can assure that people with normal brain function will usually have few or none of these symptoms.
There’s only one problem with diagnosing Donald with CARB syndrome—it’s a relatively new disease concept that has yet to be fully accepted by the medical profession. The concept has caught the attention of many top nutritional researchers and writers and I have used it to manage thousands of patients in the real world, so bear with me. When I describe the disease CARB syndrome and it’s 22 associated symptoms, you can decide for yourself if the shoe fits. If you think Donald’s brain is firing on all four cylinders and you like what he says, go for it and be a Trumpie. If you suspect that there might be something wrong with his brain, walk with me through the disease to learn how it might affect him or anyone else with untreated CARB syndrome. Even if Donald never acknowledges that he has this disease, you and I control whether or not he becomes President of the United States. Now let’s look at the 22 symptoms of CARB syndrome and compare them with Donald’s behavior patterns.
- Intense cravings for sweet and starchy foods. Even though such cravings are relatively common, in a person eating a modern diet they are never normal. These cravings tend to lead a person to consume more of the very food that is frying their brain. This is the hallmark symptom of CARB syndrome. Sorry to say it but if you have these cravings you have at least early stage disease. Does Donald have these cravings? I recently ran into two guys who went into business with Donald a few years ago. They started a multilevel marketing (MLM) company called “The Trump Network”. They spent a lot of time with Donald and they told me that he always had to have tons candy available wherever he went. He now claims to eat vegan and non-GMO and that may be true but it’s also easy to consume a bad diet following this path. By the way his MLM company crashed and burned in short order. Perhaps his so-called business acumen has been kidnapped by CARB syndrome! I would say this one is a yes for Donald.
- Abnormal hunger drives. People with CARB syndrome often eat when they aren’t really hungry and their brain fails to tell them that they should stop eating when they should be full. Their hunger drives becomes divorced from their biological need for nourishment. During one interview Trump explained that he eats pizza with a fork and knife so he can eat only the topping and not the crust to keep his weight down. This does suggest some cravings and perhaps abnormal hunger drives so let’s give this one a maybe.
- Excessive physical and mental fatigue. This tends to be a late stage symptom and Donald seems to have lots of energy so I would also give this one a no.
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing. This is an ADHD like symptom and often Donald’s thinking does seem scattered all over the place. He frequently jumps from topic to topic without smooth transitions and he is easily distracted. His conversations are often fit the “stream of consciousness” patterns that are typical for CARB syndrome, ADHD and bipolar disorder. I would give this one a strong yes.
- Poor impulse control. This of course is pure Trump. He often acts or speaks without thinking very carefully. We often characterize this type of person as lacking a “brain filter”. Whatever comes into their brain tends to fall out of their mouth and of course this can get them into trouble. This type of person often reacts to what others say without thinking through their response. As Donald would say, this one gets a “huge” yes.
- Feelings of depression. When it comes to Trump this one is hard to pin down. At times he looks to me like he is depressed but I am only speculating. Some have speculated that he might have bipolar disorder, a form of depression cycling with mania. On this one let’s give him a maybe.
- Excessive anxiety. This one is fairly broad because it also covers various phobias and Donald does have one huge phobia—germs. He apparently doesn’t like to shake hands because of his fear of germs and he carries hand sanitizer wherever he goes. His fear of germs clearly meets the definition of a phobia that is not based on rational thinking. On this one he gets a big yes.
- Excessive mood swings. Donald clearly seems to have mood issues. He is very thin-skinned and somewhat volatile in his emotions. He does somewhat fit the bipolar picture. I would give him a yes on this one.
- Insomnia. Donald has often bragged that he gets by on 3 or 4 hours of sleep per night and this gives him an edge over those who sleep more. Whether he is choosing to not sleep or he can’t sleep is irrelevant. Sleep research certainly doesn’t support his view so I will give him a yes on this one.
- Lack of proper sensory filtering. Healthy brains filter out a lot of sensory signals from the environment that aren’t necessary for our survival or wellbeing. People with CARB syndrome tend to lose this filtering function. They tend to shun all sorts of sensory stimuli. This one is hard to call unless you spend time with someone. The fact that Trump shuns shaking hands might be a hint at this trait. I would call this one a maybe.
- Low self-esteem. It takes a healthy brain to have positive feelings about yourself. People with CARB syndrome tend to lose these positive feelings. This often emerges as narcissism and even bullying. Mr. Trump certainly qualifies on this one so he gets a strong yes.
- Low self-image. People with healthy brains tend to like what they see when they look in the mirror whereas those with CARB syndrome often do not. Eating disorders fit this pattern. This is also a late stage symptom. I haven’t seen any evidence of this in Trump so this one gets a no.
- Loss of cognitive function. This one is hard to measure. People with CARB syndrome tend to lose some of their cognitive skills. Their thinking ends up being a little goofy and muddled. People readily notice this trait in others but unless they understand the CARB syndrome concept it’s hard to pin down the exact cause. I think that it’s pretty obvious that Donald’s thinking is somewhat odd. Although this type of thinking at times may be entertaining, it might not be the best way to lead a country. On this one I have to give him a yes.
- Lack of empathy. It takes a healthy brain to put you in someone else’s shoes to view and identify with their perspective. People with CARB syndrome tend to lose this ability and the ability to empathize with others. It’s pretty obvious that on this one Trump scores a big yes.
- Chronic pain. People with healthy brains experience appropriate levels of pain. People with CARB syndrome tend to have their pain magnified. They feel background sensory pain signals that are filtered out by healthy brains. This is the basis for fibromyalgia. This symptom tends to occur later in the disease process. I have no evidence that Trump suffers from excessive pain so on this one he gets a no.
- Short-term memory problems. As we age most of us experience minor memory problems. In people with CARB syndrome this process is accelerated. When some of Trump’s memories of the past have been challenged, he has charged back claiming that he has “the world’s greatest memory”. If he has to constantly defend his memory it certainly suggests that there may be a problem in this area. Donald gets a yes on this one.
- Internal restlessness and racing thoughts. People with healthy brains tend to have inner calmness and ordered thinking. As I mentioned earlier, folks with CARB syndrome lose these traits pushing them into a pattern that looks a lot like ADHD. If you have spent any time listening to Trump, you will notice that his thinking is all over the map and the connections between his thoughts are often very weak or non-existent. He also seems a bit hypomanic, a classic CARB syndrome trait. Donald gets a big yes on this one.
- Poor listening skills. People with healthy brains have the ability to easily absorb what others are saying. In other words they are good listeners. Folks with CARB syndrome slowly lose this function and they end up having a one-way conversation with themselves. What more can I say? This is classic Trump so he gets another big yes.
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies. It’s normal for humans to be afraid of snakes and other natural dangers. People with CARB syndrome lose the ability to determine what is really risky in their surrounding environment. They become fearful of things that are clearly not very dangerous. Donald has admitted that he has borderline OCD and his fear of germs is well known. There are more bacteria cells in our body than our own cells so this fear is clearly irrational. Donald gets another big yes on this one.
- Intestinal symptoms. This is a late stage symptom that only occurs in people with advanced CARB syndrome. All of us have a second brain—the enteric nervous system, which controls bowel function. With CARB syndrome this brain also malfunctions causing IBS type symptoms. I have no knowledge that Trump suffers from these symptoms so we have to give him a no on this one.
- Increased communication lag time (CLT). When I say something to you it takes a microsecond for you to process this information. When you have done so you indicate this with a subtle head nod or change in facial expression. That means that I am free to say something else. This CLT is normally less than a second. In people with CARB syndrome the CLT increases, often to many seconds and this greatly interferes with normal communication. When I have observed Trump interacting with others, he does seem to have a mildly increased CLT. On this one we have to give the Donald a yes.
- Consciously thinking about food and eating. People with a healthy brain only think about food and eating when it’s appropriate for their survival. People with CARB syndrome are constantly thinking about food and eating because these natural drives become divorced from their evolutionary anchors. I have seen some subtle indications that Donald might have this trait so I will give him a maybe.
Now that we have gone through the 22 symptoms of CARB syndrome, how does Trump stack up? By my count he received 14 “yes” responses, 3 “maybe” responses and 4 “no” responses. I tend to classify patients with CARB syndrome into three stages—stage 1 is mild disease, stage 2 is moderate disease and stage 3 is severe disease. People with stage 1 disease are able to easily compensate for their illness by simply trying harder. This stage of CARB syndrome is extremely common and it tends to show up in your neighbors, co-workers, family members or even you. Those with stage 2 disease are often struggling. Things are starting to fall apart at home and at work because they can no longer compensate for their brain dysfunction. Those with stage 3 disease are generally totally disabled and they can no longer contribute to society.
Based on the above analysis and Donald’s score, I believe that Trump clearly has stage 2 CARB syndrome. In some areas he is barely squeaking by and to most observers he seems to have serious brain issues. Up until now people who have noticed his weird brain functioning haven’t been able to put their finger on the exact nature of the problem. I intend to solve that problem with my diagnosis.
The Mystery of Trump’s Brain
Peggy Noonan is one of my favorite writers and she recently wrote a piece about Trump in the Wall Street Journal. In her article she makes the case that something is seriously wrong with Trump’s brain. She has observed that he simply isn’t thinking or reacting like a normal human being, especially one who wants to be President of the United States of America. She is perplexed why this is so but I am not. It isn’t his personality that is the problem—it’s the fact that he has a serious untreated brain disorder. It a way it’s no longer funny or entertaining—it’s merely sad and a bit dangerous.
The good news is that CARB syndrome is treatable and reversible. Because the medical profession missed this disease (that’s another long story), there is little chance that the Donald will be diagnosed and properly treated. That means that if he becomes President of the United States, someone with an untreated serious brain disorder will run our country and will have their finger on the nuclear button. This scenario is much scarier than anything outlined in Peggy Noonan’s article.
In contrast I would say that our current President does not have CARB syndrome. Although I disagree with many of President Obama’s policies, I do respect the fact that his brain is working as intended. He thinks before he speaks, he is a good listener and speaker, his thoughts are clearly connected, he is emotionally stable and he has a healthy self-esteem and self-image. Thus I don’t stay up at night worrying about what Obama is up to.
In summary, I would say that before we elect anyone to the highest office in the nation, we should put them through the above 22 questions. They need to pass the CARB syndrome screening test. In this dangerous era we need a leader with a healthy, fully functional brain. Sorry Donald, but when it comes to your brain and running our country “You’re fired”.