An expert in infectious diseases has claimed that President Donald Trump’s alleged erratic and bizarre behavior, which has led several mental health professionals to express fears that he could be mentally ill, could be part of the symptoms of syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
The shocking suggestion that Trump could be exhibiting the symptoms of dementia due to syphilis was put forward by Steven Beutler, an expert in infectious diseases, in an article titled, “A Medical Theory For Trump’s Bizarre Behavior,” published on Friday by the New Republic.
“Many mental health professionals believe the president is ill. But what if the cause is an untreated STD?”
— Raw Story (@RawStory) February 18, 2017
According to Beutler, a major reason to fear that Trump could be suffering from syphilis is that we know he was exposed to a grave risk of syphilis infection in the 1980s. The assessment is based, according to Beutler, on Trump’s own admission on the Howard Stern show in 1997 (see video below) that he lived a dangerous sexually promiscuous lifestyle in the 1980s. Trump told Stern during the 1997 interview on the Howard Stern Show that his risky sexual behavior in the 1980s was his “personal Vietnam.”
“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world,” Trump said, in reference to the risk of STDs he was exposed to due to his sexual promiscuity. “It is a dangerous world out there. It’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam-era. It is my personal Vietnam.”
“Whether Trump emerged unscathed from his ‘personal Vietnam’ is now a question that he should explore with his personal physician.”
The 1980s, according to Beutler, was a very dangerous time to be sexually promiscuous because it was a period when syphilis infection was rampant in the U.S. The fact that Trump has shown all the major symptoms of neurosyphilis, including irritability, delusional thinking, grandiosity, and patchy hair loss, provides a basis to fear that he could be in the late stages of neurological illness due to syphilis infection, according to the medical expert.
Trump is not the first world leader whose pattern of bizarre behavior has been attributed to a possible syphilis infection. Experts have claimed in the past that Hitler’s erratic behavior, especially toward the end of his life, was uncannily similar to the pattern of psychiatric instability exhibited by individuals suffering from an advanced stage of syphilis in which neuropsychiatric symptoms are manifested dominantly.
The latest effort at “differential diagnosis” of Trump comes amid renewed debate among psychiatric professionals about the ethical issues involved when specialists speculate openly about the mental health of a public figure.
I usually stay away from conflation of 'mentally ill' and 'fascist monster,' but omfg the syphilis theory https://t.co/htKoLLD9ZV
— Morgan Parker (@morganapple) February 18, 2017
The debate was re-ignited following Trump’s behavior during his first “solo press conference” on Thursday. Many opponents, and some supporters of the Trump administration, expressed dismay about Trump’s behavior, with many describing the press conference on Thursday as “unhinged.”
“Physicians like me have also taken notice of Trump’s bizarre, volatile behavior,” Beutler commented.
“Given our experience, we can’t help but wonder if there’s a medical diagnosis to be made. After all, many medical conditions exhibit their first symptoms in the form of psychiatric issues and personality changes. One condition in particular is notable for doing so: Neurosyphilis.”
According to Beutler, syphilis has earned the historical reputation of “The Great Impostor,” due to the fact that it mimics so many other illnesses and syndromes, especially non-infectious mental health illnesses.
The first stage of development of syphilis, according to the expert, is termed primary syphilis.
Fake News Alert ???? Doctor writes Trump may have syphilis but can't diagnose | Daily Mail Online https://t.co/yQplR10VzS
— StrongWomenLoveTrump (@mcgilh) February 18, 2017
“Primary syphilis is the most widely recognized form of the disease. It is characterized by the development of an ulcer, usually genital, a few weeks to a few months after sexual contact with an infected person,” Beutler wrote.
“If the ulcer is not noticed, or not treated, it heals on its own, and the disease enters a dormant phase,” he added.
Secondary syphilis develops several weeks or months after the primary stage and it is characterized by a wide range of non-specific symptoms, such as fever, rash, sores, and swollen lymph glands.
If the second stage of development of the disease is left untreated, “the infection enters a prolonged latent phase, which can last decades. During this time, it is asymptomatic and it is not contagious,” according to Beutler.
— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) February 17, 2017
In a few cases, a devastating tertiary stage of the illness develops that is best known for causing a form of illness called neurosyphilis.
Neurosyphilis is often misdiagnosed because it mimics non-infectious psychiatric illness. And according to Beutler, all of the symptoms of neurosyphilis, including “patchy hair loss,” have been observed in Trump.
“Commonly recognized symptoms include irritability, loss of ability to concentrate, delusional thinking, and grandiosity. Memory, insight, and judgment can become impaired. Insomnia may occur… Dementia… and patchy hair loss can also be seen in later stages of syphilis.”
— (((STOP))) Trumpnado (@Trumpnado2016) February 17, 2017
Beutler admitted that it is impossible to determine from a distance that Trump has syphilis. He insisted, however, that part of his training as a medical professional is making “differential diagnosis” based on incomplete information.
“Part of my training is to ask the right questions to get a sense of what the problem might be and make a list of possible diagnoses that could explain the problem,” he wrote.
“This is called the ‘differential diagnosis,'” he continued. “From there, additional questions, examinations, and tests are performed that narrow down the list, usually to one unifying diagnosis.”
Beutler explained that two blood tests could answer conclusively the question whether Trump has syphilis. If both tests are negative, it means that Trump is free of syphilis. But if one is negative and the other positive, his doctors would have to order further tests.
Beutler stressed that it was important for Trump to take the tests because as the president of the United States, a nuclear superpower, millions around the world depend on his sound judgement as conditioned by his state of physical and mental health.
He also pointed out that unlike many other forms of non-infectious psychiatric illnesses that are difficult to treat, syphilis infection is treatable. But without treatment the disease could progress and end the patient’s life painfully and miserably.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]