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It should come to no one’s surprise that I’m not a John McCain supporter. But I have to admit I get a little itchy win the issue of his age is brought up. Now, in the interest of full list disclosure, I must say that yesterday I took another step dangerously close to 60 years of age, so aging is certainly on my mind.What actually brought this up though is that I just saw Leonard Cohen put on a 3 1/2 hour concert, and then jog off the stage after his third encore. All this at the ripe age of 74. For those of you who don’t know, Leonard Cohen is best known now for writing the song “Hallelujah”, which was at the end of the movie Shrek and was sung by the dreadlocked guy on American Idol. But he has a very full, poetic and beautiful body of work, written and performed over the last 50 years. And he put on a fantastic show.

So if Leonard can do this at 74, why can’t John McCain govern at 71? There was a recent NY Sunday Times article about this issue, point out that, amongst other things, McCain’s life expectancy is another 14 years at this point. And, there’s certainly something to be said for experience. I’m pretty sure that I know a lot more than I did at 46, when I was Barak Obama’s age, just by virtue of the fact that I’ve seen more and hopefully I’ve learned from what I’ve seen and experienced. And yes, it’s also true that it takes me a microsecond longer to think of words, and of people’s names. I don’t know that that’s affected me performance-wise, just something I notice.

Christopher Beam had a good recent post in Slate magazine entitled, “What might happen to John McCain sprain over the next eight years?” In it, he points out some of the physiologic changes that can happen to the brain as one ages, but also the extreme variability from person to person.

I know that in my practice, I see 30-year-olds that are broken down and barely functioning. And, I see 80-year-olds who are young and vital. If there’s any lesson to be learned from this, it’s a lesson that I feel is so important in a medical practice. Don’t Rely On The Numbers. Numbers can’t substitute for evaluating a person or a situation. This goes for a thyroid test such as a TSH, it certainly goes for cholesterol, and it goes for age as well. And who knows, maybe as far as John McCain goes, 71 is the new 58.

By the way, if you looking for a reason to vote against John McCain, his war mongering, anti-choice stance, shenanigans with lobbyists, and buddying up to various unsavories probably are reasons enough.

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