Re: Brain Structure Drives The Consequent Effects Of Economic Inequality

Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:35 pm, #38
by Jessica
I propose all presidential candidates have a mandatory medical review,( including brain scans), by an independent third party and such medical information is to be made available to the public. The office of the most powerful position in the world requires extra ordinary care in its selection process and currently this process does not match the gravity of the office. Those voting for a candidate need this information to make a more rational informed choice. This new requirement can be implemented through a constitutional amendment.

Doctor A in post #6 clearly describes a medical diagnosis of Donald Trump and asks us to make our own decision.
Professional psychiatrists, and psychotherapists, are loath to go on record saying that Trump has a psychiatric disorder on the premise that one cannot do a diagnosis without an office visit and most narcissists are quite unlikely to recognize that they have a problem and to schedule an appointment.
Fortunately, the DSM is written so clearly, and so simply, that anyone can make a diagnosis. Here are the symptoms. Make up your own mind.
Does Trump have Narcissistic Personality Disorder? You Decide

According to DSM-5, individuals with NPD have most (at least five) or all of the symptoms listed below (generally without commensurate qualities or accomplishments).

1 Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment by others.
2 Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
3 Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions.
4 Needing constant admiration from others.
5 Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others.
6 Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain.
7 Unwilling to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes, or needs.
8 Intensely jealous of others and the belief that others are equally jealous of them.
9 Pompous and arrogant demeanor.
But James Fallow from The Atlantic begs the question, So What? In other words, will it make a difference?

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK
Trump Nation, August, 2019
An ongoing reader discussion led by James Fallows regarding Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency. https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2019/ ... ot/596575/
The one thing I avoided in that Time Capsule series was “medicalizing” Trump’s personality and behavior. That is, moving from description of his behavior to speculation about its cause. Was Trump’s abysmal ignorance—“Most people don’t know President Lincoln was a Republican!”—a sign of dementia, or of some other cognitive decline? Or was it just more evidence that he had never read a book? Was his braggadocio and self-centeredness a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder? (Whose symptoms include “an exaggerated sense of self-importance” and “a sense of entitlement and require[s] constant, excessive admiration.”) Or just that he is an entitled jerk? On these and other points I didn’t, and don’t, know.

Like many people in the journalistic world, I received a steady stream of mail from mental-health professionals arguing for the “medicalized” approach. Several times I mentioned the parallel between Trump’s behavior and the check-list symptoms of narcissism. But I steered away from “this man is sick”—naming the cause rather than listing the signs—for two reasons.
But the diagnosis-at-a-distance issue wasn’t the real reason I avoided “medicalization.” The main reason I didn’t go down this road was my assessment that it wouldn’t make a difference. People who opposed Donald Trump already opposed him, and didn’t need some medical hypothesis to dislike his behavior. And people who supported him had already shown that they would continue to swallow anything, from “Grab ‘em by … ” to “I like people who weren’t captured.” The Vichy Republicans of the campaign dutifully lined up behind the man they had denounced during the primaries, and the Republicans of the Senate have followed in that tradition.
Even Sterling in his post #4 indicates his frustration for it not mattering as he too has decided not to bash his liberal mind up against the mind's of conservatives anymore,
Making the same mistake over and over again is beyond the pale and just plain insane. When done on a large scale, it is reprehensible. So, although I am referring to Trump's ardent supporters in this matter, I also need to look at myself. Will I make the same mistake over and over again? Will I argue with individual trying to persuade them to change their minds through logic, facts, and perspective knowing full well they cannot really understand what I am saying due to their brain structure?

In truth I have now replaced much of the frustration and anger of repeatedly trying to change people to my way of thinking by taking a different tact; my path is now to take action, but not just any action. Rather than trying to change people I have come to understand I need to change the system, and not just any system. Rather than just trying to change the political system I have come to understand I need to change the origin of control of the political machine, namely by changing my perspective from that of a traditional Democrat to one who rails against economic inequality. Verily, this is the pressure point. It is the standard by which all of my further actions must be judged for it truly is the key to change. No other form of action offers me and my fellow liberals so much opportunity for change. The reason I am so much more against the Republicans than the Democrats is their egregious and callous creation of economic inequality. It is because the Democrats cause so much less, although not without their own share of culpability in this arena, that I call myself a Democrat.
Yet I firmly believe the best approach is to mandate independent third party medical reports and brain scans be used to let the public decide for themselves who has a healthy body and brain when selecting a presidential candidate. Clearly we take into account the distant diagnosing of candidates such as Trump having NPD when we make our decisions. Does it matter? Certainly it does because the more accurate information the public has and the better informed they are the more likely they will make a better choice as to who should be the President. It is time we move out of the dark ages when it comes to selecting our president.

This is why I think each candidate should be subjected to a battery of medical tests by an independent third party before they are allowed to run for the office. This should be legislated as an amendment to the constitution as we have certainly come a long ways in our ability to diagnose pathology since 1776. Without these kinds of tests, we are just guessing as to an individual's fitness to hold the most important office in the world.

Doctor A brought up some relatively new information about brain structure and NPD in his #6 post.
We can now see narcissism in the brain. Brain scans of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) showed they have less brain matter in areas associated with emotional empathy. This is the first time anyone has seen the evidence of narcissism in brain structures.

The inability to feel empathy is one of the hallmarks of NPD. Researchers have found that people with this disorder can take the perspective of another person in a purely intellectual way. However, when it comes to actually feeling what another person is going through, narcissists have difficulty.

A group of German researchers recently studied the source of this lack of emotional empathy in people with NPD. In their research, they collected MRI brain scans of 17 people with NPD along with 17 people from the community for comparison. The researchers first looked at brain volume overall and found that the people with NPD were similar to the healthy individuals. That is, both groups’ brains’ were similar overall.

The researchers then examined the areas of the brain that are now considered areas associated with empathy (i.e., bilateral anterior insula, anterior and median parts of the cingulate cortex, and the supplementary motor area). They found that the patients with NPD had less brain matter in areas that overlapped with the areas associated with empathy (i.e., left anterior insula, rostral and median cingulate cortex as well as dorsolateral and medial parts of the prefrontal cortex).

Put simply, the empathic areas of the brain were less developed in people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Narcissistic Personality Disorder affects about 1% of the general population and it has been shown to impair interpersonal functioning. This groundbreaking research will likely help legitimize the disorder and, ironically, help people to empathize with people who are suffering with this illness.
So, does it matter if we know this medical information about a candidate or not as the author of the Atlantic article suggests? I personally weigh in on the side that it matters and does so greatly. Given the debacle Donald Trump created since his election, and given his "at a distance diagnosis" of NPD psychiatrist evaluations, having another dimension such as a brain scan gives us a more encompassing view as to how an individual will perform than not. I say this because the position of US president is one of the most consequential events we will ever decide and there should be little room for misjudgments. Furthermore, all of the top presidential candidates on the Democratic side and Trump himself are septuagenarians and we know individuals between 70 to 79 years of age are more likely to have medical problems than others of a lesser age.

The Constitution sets out three eligibility requirements to be President: one must be 35 years of age, a resident “within the United States” for 14 years, and a “natural born Citizen.” I think it would be wise and prudent to make a fourth requirement through a constitutional amendment for a mandatory medical review including a brain scan. Then we can let the voters decide for themselves.