In December 2012, Hillary Clinton sustained a concussion. The secretary of state had become so dehydrated she fainted, hit her head, and, as a result, was brought to New York-Presbyterian Hospital for a follow-up MRI scan of her brain. Doctors discovered a blood clot inside a vein inside her skull and promptly prescribed blood thinners — which became the genesis of conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health as she runs for president of the United States.
Ultimately, Clinton was diagnosed with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). Three out of every one million people will develop CVST, which is when a blood clot forms in the transverse sinus — a large vein that wraps around the inner wall of the skull. Because of the force from the fall, Clinton formed the rare clot behind her right ear, leaving her with (temporary) double vision and dizziness. Although Clinton’s doctors reassured the public she had not suffered from a stroke or neurological damage, others have continued to speculate on her physical health.
Recently, Republican nominee Donald Trump and his supporters have echoed conspiracy theorists circulating the idea that Clinton isn’t in good health. Photos of falsified medical records came along with the rumors that described Clinton experiencing black outs, uncontrollable twitching, memory loss, and fatigue. In response, Clinton’s long-time physician Dr. Lisa Bardack released this statement:
“I have recently been made aware of allegedly ‘leaked’ medical documents regarding Secretary Clinton with my name on them,” Bardack said. “These documents are false, were not written by me and are not based on any medical facts. To reiterate what I said in my previous statement, Secretary Clinton is in excellent health and fit to serve as President of the United States.”
While many false statements have perpetuated the rumors about Clinton’s condition in order to discredit her ability to serve as president — Trump said this week that she lacked the “mental and physical stamina” to fight ISIS — some health controversies remain. Sean Hannity, conservative talk show host and co-host of Fox News Channel’s show “Hannity,” is behind many of the conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health [see video].
In response, CNN host Brian Stelter said: “Let me be clear. That was reckless speculation by Sean Hannity. All of it. Hannity is not interested in the truth about Clinton’s health. Conspiracy theories are so much more interesting than the truth. But the last time I checked, Fox still has the word ‘news’ in its name.”
Now some of the symptoms Americans believe Hillary Clinton showed;
Conservative media outlets have spun the theory that Clinton has Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating neurological disorder that affects roughly one million Americans. Clinton’s tendency to hold a microphone in her left hand while she holds her right hand to her chest has been highlighted by conservatives as a telling sign of the disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that starts off with barely noticeable tremors in one hand and stiffness in the arms when walking. As symptoms spread to the rest of the body, the face may show little or no expression and speech becomes soft or slurred. Eventually posture is impaired and patients have difficulty blinking, smiling, and writing. Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured, although medications can curb some of the most prominent symptoms — none of which Clinton has presented.
In July 2016, footage of Clinton nodding her head up and down in an interview sparked rumors that she was experiencing a seizure on camera. The video clip went viral, and conspiracy theorists cited it as evidence that Clinton regularly suffers from seizures as a result of her concussion. Fox medical correspondent Marc Siegel suggested the movement was not voluntary and instead the result of brain damage, while others dismissed the video as evidence only of the desperation of Clinton health rumor-mongerers.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, seizures can range from unpredictable, to episodic, brief, or stereotypic. While there can be jerking movements of an arm, leg, or entire body, it’s usually accompanied by falling, sleepiness, weakness, confusion, lip smacking, chewing, fumbling movements, and the inability to speak.
Clinton’s head motion was quickly followed by a response to a question in the impromptu interview, which is highly uncharacteristic for those experiencing a seizure. If Clinton were to have experienced a seizure as a result of her concussion, it would have been directly following instead of occurring four years later.