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Biden, 80, undergoing highly anticipated physical exam

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on April 8, 2021. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
February 16, 2023

President Joe Biden is undergoing the second physical examination of his presidency as the oldest-ever chief executive still has not confirmed whether he will seek a second term.

Biden entered a session with doctors at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C., Thursday morning, Reuters reported. The physical exam is expected to last about three hours, with results expected to be revealed later in the day.

The exam comes as Biden, 80, still has not announced a 2024 presidential campaign. He has said he intends to run again, but already faces widespread concerns about his advanced age.

READ MORE: Is Biden too old to run for reelection?

The president has long drawn scrutiny for mumbling and appearing to forget or mix up words, and a video of him falling multiple times on the stairs to Air Force One went viral in 2021. 

Nearly three-quarters of all voters – including 59 percent of registered Democrats – believe Biden is too old to work in government, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll. And even high-level Democratic lawmakers harbor doubts about a second term that would see Biden reach the age of 86, as reported by Politico.

During the physical, Biden’s doctors are likely to check his eyes, hearing, and will probably perform a neurological exam, which is common for people of his age, according to Borna Bonakdarpour, an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

A neurological exam can detect brain and nervous system disorders by evaluating cognition, speech, and reflexes, among other things. Symptoms calling for a neurological exam include cognitive decline and difficulty with speech, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Biden last underwent a physical in November 2021. In a memo, his doctor noted a stiffened gait mostly caused by spinal wear-and-tear, as well as a loss of some sensation in Biden’s feet from unclear causes. A “benign-appearing” polyp was removed during a colonoscopy.

The doctor, Kevin O’Connor, declared Biden “a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”