Doctors suggest small seizures might explain McConnell's public freezes

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has once again experienced a concerning freeze during a press conference, leading doctors to speculate that he may be having seizures. During the conference, McConnell appeared disoriented and confused before momentarily pausing. A spokesperson for McConnell stated that he felt lightheaded and would be consulting with a physician before his next event. This incident follows a similar occurrence last month when McConnell abruptly stopped speaking during another press conference, with an aide attributing it to lightheadedness.

Several doctors who have viewed the video footage of McConnell's episodes believe that they may be indicative of seizures. Dr. David Thaler, neurologist-in-chief at Tufts Medical Center, believes that McConnell may be experiencing little, tiny seizures, which are electrical changes in the brain. He noted that these episodes appear more severe than simply losing one's train of thought and emphasized that they could be related to a series of falls and a concussion McConnell experienced earlier this year.

Dr. Keith Vossel, a professor of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, also suspects that seizures could be the cause of McConnell's episodes. He described them as resembling absence seizures, also known as petit mal seizures, which can cause temporary loss of awareness and unresponsiveness.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, absence seizures are a type of epilepsy characterized by abnormal brain activity that manifests as a blank stare lasting a few seconds. Age is considered a major risk factor for these seizures, according to Vossel.

However, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, believes that McConnell's concussion earlier this year could explain the occurrence of absence seizures. Approximately 10% of individuals who sustain a significant head injury and require hospitalization may subsequently experience seizures.

While McConnell's office has not provided a comment on the matter, these recent incidents have raised concerns about his health. It remains to be seen how McConnell and his medical team will address these concerns and what further evaluation or treatment may be necessary.


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