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Neurologist says Biden displays ‘hallmark’ symptoms of Parkinson’s: ‘Not a hard case’ to diagnose

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Dr. Tom Pitts, a neurologist, said President Biden shows symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, a disorder that affects the nervous system.

“He has these classic features of neurodegeneration,” Pitts said during a Monday interview on NBC News Now.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was questioned about Biden’s cognitive ability in a fiery press briefing Monday after the New York Post reported that Dr. Kevin Cannard met several times with Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, over the past year. Cannard is a neurologist from Walter Reed Military Medical Center who specializes in Parkinson’s disease.

Pitts said that while he has not examined Biden directly, Parkinson’s is “one of the easier movement disorders to diagnose.” 

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Dr. Tom Pitts

Dr. Tom Pitts, a neurologist, said President Biden shows symptoms of Parkinsons disease, a brain disorder that is characterized by degeneration of the brain and can manifest as slowed or slurred speech, reduced cognitive ability and movement.  (NBC News Now)

“I’m a Democrat,” Pitts said during the interview. “It’s just, [Biden] is not a hard case.” 

Pitts listed a number of symptoms he said were easily identifiable, even by visible confirmation. 

“I could’ve diagnosed him from across the Mall,” Pitts said.

When asked about Biden’s “rigidity” of movement, Dr. Pitts said he shows “hallmark” signs of Parkinson’s. 

“[Biden has] loss of arm swing from the rigidity,” Pitts said, adding that the president also shows signs of “bradykinesia,” or “slow movement,” which are both “hallmark” Parkinson’s symptoms. 

Pitts also referenced Biden’s “shuffling gait.” 

“When we walk, we have a nice cadence and you’ll notice [Biden] doesn’t really swing his arms,” Pitts said. “And [he shows] end-block turning, meaning he kind of pivots around his foot.” 

Hypophonia, or a “small, monotone voice,” he said, “over time is a hallmark of Parkinson’s.”

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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks at briefing

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was questioned about Biden’s cognitive ability in a fiery press briefing Monday. (AP/Evan Vucci)

When reached for comment, the White House directed Fox News Digital to O’Connor’s February health summary letter, which said, “An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis, nor are there any signs of cervical myelopathy.” 

O’Connor released a letter Monday explaining that Cannard visited the White House as part of the president’s annual physicals, “not because he is a movement disorder specialist, but because he is a highly trained and highly regarded neurologist here at Walter Reed and across the Military Health System, with a very wide expertise which makes him flexible to see a variety of patients and problems.”

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Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Landon Mion contributed to this report.

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