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Consider this scenario: An aging leader of a major world power gradually develops unrecognized neurologic disease. Failing memory and declining ability to grasp complex abstract concepts impair decision making. Solutions, lacking subtlety and detail, are reduced to simple, idealized formulae. Increasingly ill, yet sheltered from scrutiny by family and physician, his fateful decisions lead to dramatic foreign policy blunders.
Dr. Park, a neurosurgeon, postulates that from World War I through the 1950s the illness of world leaders fundamentally altered world history. For example, he contends that Woodrow Wilson had progressively worsening multi-infarct dementia that precluded effective negotiations at the Paris
The Impact of Illness on World Leaders.. Ann Intern Med. 1987;106:919–920. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-106-6-919_3
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(6):919-920.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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