Trump’s wild hair

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I haven’t been on le Twitter today. Has Trump exploded?

President Trump takes medication for three ailments, including a prostate-related drug to promote hair growth, Mr. Trump’s longtime physician, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, said in a series of recent interviews.

[…]

The disclosure that Mr. Trump uses a prostate-related drug to maintain growth of his scalp hair, which has not been publicly known, appears to solve a riddle of why Mr. Trump has a very low level of prostate specific antigen, or PSA, a marker for prostate cancer. Mr. Trump takes a small dose of the drug, finasteride, which lowers PSA levels. Finasteride is marketed as Propecia to treat male-pattern baldness.

Dr. Bornstein said he also took finasteride and credited it for helping maintain his own shoulder-length hair and Mr. Trump’s hair. “He has all his hair,” Dr. Bornstein said. “I have all my hair.”

That’s not all they have in common.

At times in the interviews, Dr. Bornstein was moody, ranging from saying that Mr. Trump’s health “is none of your business” to later volunteering facts. He also meandered, referring to his longtime study of Italian and stories about medical schools floating cadavers to an island off the waters of New York. He said he liked the attention he got from friends now that he was publicly known as Mr. Trump’s doctor but disliked “the fun made of me” by the news media and strangers who have thrown objects at his office window and who have yelled at him on Park Avenue.

[…]

Dr. Bornstein was invited to Mr. Trump’s inaugural, although he said it was not as pleasant an experience as he expected. He had to walk a long way to a spot where he thought there would be a chair — he said he has a painful back ailment and nerve damage to a leg — but when he got there, there was no chair.

He stood behind a tree and “never heard anyone speak because I was so uncomfortable from my back and being cold.” He felt, he said, “absolutely miserable.” It seemed to take forever to leave because of the heavy security, he said. The situation was the same at an inaugural ball where there were no tables and chairs. So, he said, unable to chat comfortably with others, he and his wife, Melissa, returned to their hotel early.

Fascinating. In a massive burning train wreck that requires a county-wide evacuation sort of way.

Thursday bonus: Schwarzenegger and the casting of the shade.

“Hey Donald, I have a great idea — why don’t we switch jobs?” said Mr. Schwarzenegger, his face filling the screen. “You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job.

“And then people can finally sleep comfortably again,” Mr. Schwarzenegger added, with an impish grin.

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  • Hogan

    who have yelled at him on Park Avenue.

    Although it’s usually “GET A JOB, HIPPIE.”

  • Nobdy

    I am not qualified to make this assertion myself, but Kara Brown’s Shade Court has led me to believe that directly insulting someone like Schwarzenegger did is not technically shade. Shade has to be a little more subtle and ambiguous.

    Also Trump’s doctor is presumably not authorized to share any of this and despite being one of “the best people” Trump hired seems to not even know about doctor patient confidentiality requirements.

    • sneezehonestly

      Trump presumably gave the doctor permission to disclose his private medical information back when the doctor released his initial letter and the later report. The more recent interview might be within the scope of that permission.

      • Warren Terra

        Your theory is interesting, but I undermine it thus: that “initial letter” released during the campaign was utterly ludicrous and moreover did not “disclose his private medical information”, nor indeed disclose any factual information. It can hardly be seen as precedent for future disclosures, unless they too were risible fantasies.

        • sneezehonestly

          The information in the initial (December 4, 2015) letter would unquestionably be covered as “protected health information” under HIPAA. The letter stated that Trump takes aspirin and a statin drug, discloses his blood pressure, and discloses his PSA test score. The statement that Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” is ridiculous, but it’s not the only thing in the letter.

    • El Guapo

      I mean, he’d have to have permission to disclose this or else face both the wrath of Trump and a HIPAA violation.

      So I look forward to hearing Sal “The Horse” and Jimmy “Gas Pipe” tell their tales out of school about their dealings with Trump…

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        I’m pretty sure that Trump requires his physician to sign an NDA.

        • q-tip

          On the other hand, just look at Dr B. He’s like the Trump of personal physicians. Laws, and NDAs, are for Other People to worry about.

        • efgoldman

          Trump requires his physician to sign an NDA

          Has he forced the kid, Barron, to sign an NDA? It would fit right in, doncha’ think?

    • q-tip

      I am not qualified to make this assertion myself, but Kara Brown’s Shade Court has led me to believe that directly insulting someone like Schwarzenegger did is not technically shade. Shade has to be a little more subtle and ambiguous.

      My cursory reading of the works of RuPaul, PhDis, leads me to adopt the middle ground here: shade is not very subtle nor very ambiguous, but neither is it as flat-out confrontational as Arnold’s comment. It requires some, but not much, plausible deniability.
      But language is a living thing, and I’m happy to celebrate Arnold as an honorary “shadecaster” – especially if he can pull off that trade he offered.

      Also Trump’s doctor is presumably not authorized to share any of this and despite being one of “the best people” Trump hired seems to not even know about doctor patient confidentiality requirements.

      Yeah, what the fuck’s up with that?

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        See also.

    • I don’t know. I assume he got permission to discuss tRump’s health months ago, but any attorney would have to be dumber than a rock to say HIPAA allows a doctor to keep talking about the patient’s health and treatment forever and ever.

      But there’s no way permission to discuss tRump’s health included discussing his wives’ treatment.

      • Warren Terra

        I suppose there’s a procedural question. Trump can’t go after him – too humiliating, too much potential for Doctor Feelgood to get really indiscreet, and it would confirm that Trump takes Propecia (though: why the fnck do we care about that? It perhaps indicates prior descriptions of his health were incomplete and so unsuited to a Presidential candidate, but that’s hardly a surprise).

        The state medical licensing board could go after Doctor Happy without those complications, but why bother? The great thing about this nutball is that certainly the only people seeking his medical services are already doing it because he’s a buffoon happy to source them their pills, and are rich to boot. There are worse doctors with more vulnerable patients to worry about.

        • The right of individuals to sue for HIPAA violations is either fairly new or still in the works. However, I’m not sure if HHS will act without a complaint.

          • Just_Dropping_By

            I don’t think a formal complaint is required for OCR to commence a HIPAA investigation. The resolution agreement for the CVS HIPAA violations states that OCR opened its investigation in response to media reports about the situation with disposal of CVS records: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cvsresagrcap.pdf (see page 2)

            • Sure, but that was a huge breach and CVS regularly gets slapped for violating rules. I don’t see OCR putting a solo doc. on its to do list unless someone complains.

              • Just_Dropping_By

                Sure, in a normal situation, but this is “the President’s doctor.” If there’s one situation where a single doctor talking publicly about a single patient might draw down the enforcement hammer notwithstanding the absence of a formal complaint, this would have to be it.

              • CVS regularly gets slapped for violating rules.

                It’s always worth remembering that CVS headquarters are in Rhode Island—Woonsocket, at that! …I had thought (before checking Wikipedia) that it started there, but no, like Joe CVS is from Lowell.

          • efgoldman

            I’m not sure if HHS will act without a complaint.

            The new, Combover Caligula HHS, run by a criminal insider trader?
            You can complain in skywriting, or by hiring a sound truck, or by submitting a six-foot-tall pile of paperwork, they won’t act.
            Bet on it.

      • efgoldman

        any attorney would have to be dumber than a rock to say HIPAA allows a doctor to keep talking

        I hate to stomp on Mr Campos’ parade, but some attorneys are actually that dumb.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      On a closely related subject, I found it bizarre during the campaign that Trump’s former tax lawyer/CPA made public remarks that would seem to have violated professional ethical standards (assuming New York’s rules on disclosures of client confidences for lawyers and accountants are anything like Colorado’s), but Trump didn’t particularly denounce those violations, nor do I recall anything about grievance proceedings being filed against him.

      • Warren Terra

        His former accountant is long-retired, so there are no possible professional licensing consequences. Trump can’t go after him for a bunch of reasons: it would look petty, it would be wasteful of Trump’s time, and who knows what revelations or even just funny stories might arise.

        Also, all the former accountant did was to confirm some leaked paperwork appeared genuine. Probably not a kosher action, but also not as if he’d leaked the paperwork (so far as I know).

        • Just_Dropping_By

          That’s the thing though, he didn’t just confirm the paperwork looked genuine (which might not actually be a problem, since authenticating a document arguably doesn’t constitute revealing confidential information, although I wouldn’t do it myself without notifying a former client out of an abundance of caution in any event), he talked about Trump’s involvement and understanding (or lack thereof) in preparing the tax returns: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-tax-attorney-he-didn-t-understand-code-n660111 That said, if the guy is completely retired, I can see why he might not think he’s at risk, but still!

          • Warren Terra

            Talking about his personal impressions of a former client is not a good thing, but I question whether it counts are revealing privileged information. Under HIPAA your doctor can’t say you had syphilis, but can’t they say they thought you were a jerk?

            • Just_Dropping_By

              The issue is that he didn’t just talk about Trump being a jerk or something, he talked about whether or to what extent Trump understood the tax documents. The only way this guy knew what Trump’s understanding of the documents was was by way of attorney-client communications. Accordingly, in a court case, at least, I’d feel pretty good making the argument that was a waiver of privilege over any communications that reflected his client’s understanding (or lack thereof) of the documents.

              • Warren Terra

                I guess that I am less impressed than you are by an accountant claiming that their client really needed, and relied on, the services of a good accountant. An expert tax adviser who did feel their client possessed a complete understanding of tax law would seem to me more remarkable.

              • First Time Caller

                The speculation at the time is that the other party to the filing, Marla Maples, leaked it and authorized the discussion.

      • Crusty

        I got the sense the guy was well into his 90’s and didn’t give a shit.

    • When it comes to shade, my general impression is that it’s fairly well exemplified by the following comment Megyn Kelly made after one of the debates: “We’ve got Trump speaking to our own Sean Hannity. We’ll see if he speaks to the journalists in this room after that interview.” It’s not a direct insult, but it’s also not subtle enough for anyone to miss the subtext.

      That said, I’m not going to quibble with the definition of the Governator’s statement, because no matter how you define it, it is a thing of beauty.

      • UncleEbeneezer

        Or Joy Ann Reid at the end of this clip.

    • Snuff curry

      It’s not shade (it’s also not a read). It’s a burn, and it’s a fine, serviceable burn at that. Having lived through Arnold as guv’nor, I can’t exactly weep with joy, but it’s fine. Everything is fine. This is all fine.

    • JDM

      Arnie didn’t insult Donald; he simply made an offer based on Trump’s obvious discomfort with his new job and nostalgia for his old job. (Mind you, Arnold was a crap governor, but even crap would be an improvement over Donald.). Though Arnold has an unfair advantage over Donald: Arnold is at least reasonably smart, while Donald Trump is dumb as a rock. A sedimentary rock, soft and flaky.

  • bizarroMike

    Man, this fucking world. First I had to agree with Bill Maher, now I have to give props to Arnold… and that’s the least bad thing about it.

    • Judas Peckerwood

      Beat me to it — almost word for word what I was going to comment.

      • howard

        me too but at least i had the variety to also give it up for eliot cohen.

    • muddy

      Dunno. I said in an earlier thread: I think the whole “confrontation” is nothing more than an advertisement for the show. It’s still Trump’s show. He learned this shit in pro wrestling. Let’s all tune in to see Arnold kick the orange butt – only he won’t really because it’s Trump’s show. Storylines pre-arranged.

      “Impish smile”, ugh.

      • Anna in PDX

        Right! This is Kayfabe. That’s it. It’s all show business.

  • Alex.S

    That seems like a major HIPAA violation. I not a doctor, but they can’t say what medications a person is using without their consent or a legal order, right?

  • MAJeff

    Finasteride. Just started taking it a month and a half ago and thrilled with it. Strange thing, though:

    Co-pay on 30 1-mg tablets: $95.00
    Co-pay on 8 5-mg tablets (32 doses): $1.61

    Yes, those decimal places are right.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Does it make your hair come back? Or just keep hair from falling out? Asking for a friend.

      • DamnYankees

        Keeps it from falling out. I used it for 10 years. Didn’t grow anything back, but arrested the decline.

      • MAJeff

        Pretty much completely stopped the loss. If I can keep it where it’s at, I’m pleased. I’d like a bit more, but I’ll be happier not having less.

      • Crusty

        It makes you look like Donald Trump.

    • bizarroMike

      I had a friend who pointed this out too. One formulation is for hair loss and has the big mark-up. The other treats other ailments and has a more reasonable cost, right?

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Sound like the kind of innovative American R&D that Europe won’t fund ! So it’s up to us American patients to capitalize it, yeaaaah, that’s the ticket!

      • Warren Terra

        Just guessing here: the good deal/tiny co-pay is if you’ve been prescribed the drug to arrest prostate cancer and keep you alive, the worse deal/high co-pay is if you’re proscribed the drug to arrest hair loss and keep you looking sharp.

        If so … I’m pretty okay with that. I realize it being the same molecule makes it look ridiculous, but I want people getting their cancer drugs cheaply (or for free), and I’m okay with other policyholders or the tax payer not overly subsidizing other people’s beauty regime.

        • bw

          They do anyway, though. My own GP told me around 2010 that he would be fine prescribing generic finasteride for me to arrest male pattern baldness while saving a pile of money that would otherwise be spent on Propecia. He might have even specifically mentioned using a pill cutter to get the right dose.

          (I ended up not taking him up on his offer, partly because I hadn’t lost much hair at that point, but later because of the possible psychological side effects I mentioned downthread.)

          • Warren Terra

            Oh, sure. Given that it’s the same stuff it would be hard to make it cheaply available to cancer patients without opening an avenue for other people to get it cheaply for a hair treatment, maybe having to do a little extra work to get it that way.

    • similar story with Metformin:

      30 – 1000mg tablets: $500.

      60 – 500mg tablets: $2.

      what the actual fuck.

      • Stag Party Palin

        Well, speaking as a user, I’d say the 500mg tabs are for mild cases (mine) and what if I miss one, no biggie. The 1000mg tabs are for people who can’t “afford” to miss a step and have to buy the stuff. But I am, as are 73% of this list, a cynic.

        • my pharmacist just doubled the number of 500mg pills, and I take ’em twice a day…Bingo! $498 dollars NOT going to Pharma!

          • N__B

            Your pharmacist is obviously not qualified for Galt’s Gulch.

  • WigFlipper

    I’m picturing a Celine-style novel being written about the Trump Era with this guy as the narrator.

  • The Great God Pan

    Is this Schwarzenegger shit even real or just that insufferable macho barb-trading that a certain type of guy engages in with friends? Like Sean Penn making an immigration joke while giving an Oscar to his Mexican pal, or the blue collar buddies insulting each other in Gran Torino because they don’t know how to communicate any other way.

    • q-tip

      Well, they ARE both gropers, but one of them is an immigrant and (I assume) former green-card holder.

      • Brautigan

        Schwarzenegger is a true believer in the Horatio Alger myth. He came here as an immigrant with literally nothing, and made himself into a huge success with alot of hard work (and good genes and alot more luck, of course). He really thinks anybody can do the same.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if he genuinely despises the anti-immigrant crowd.

  • kayden

    Dr. Bornstein was invited to Mr. Trump’s inaugural, although he said it was not as pleasant an experience as he expected. He had to walk a long way to a spot where he thought there would be a chair — he said he has a painful back ailment and nerve damage to a leg — but when he got there, there was no chair.

    That’s how Trump supporters are going to feel in a few months. They’ll expect a chair but when they reach their destination, they’ll find nothing. This is what happens when you allow a conman to sell you empty promises which he has no intention of keeping.

    • McAllen

      They’ll expect a chair but when they reach their destination, they’ll find nothing

      If they’re lucky they’ll find nothing. Probably they’ll find a pit of barbed wire and alligators.

      • q-tip

        “THESE ALLIGATORS ARE TOTALLY MASSAGING MY BUTT”

  • BiloSagdiyev

    Remember when the idea of a President Schwarzneggar was laughable?

    • JustRuss

      I had the same thought. Hey, at least California survived intact.

    • so-in-so

      The GOP was all on board, until he said something bad about Bush II.

      They were even saying the constitution should be amended to allow it (different GOP, or just the affection of the moment?).

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Naw, a classic IOKIYAR situation. He was an immigrant, but white, and he ran around with a machine gun in a lot of movies. And it looked like he could win things for the GOP. They’d find a way to put some kind of “No Mexican Democrats!” loophole in there. (“No one whose grandfathers may have illegally crossed the border to seek work in the United States may …”)

    • rea

      It’s till laughable, since he’s not constitutionally eligible.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        What is this “constitution” you speak of?

  • McAllen

    If we live through all this, Trump’s biography is going to be a hell of a thing to read.

    • David Chop

      Maybe it’ll open with, “Rarely in the history of the United States has the nation been so ill-served as during the presidency of George W. Bush Donald J. Trump.”

    • Hogan

      I was thinking the other day that the book deals coming out of this administration clusterfuck are going to be epic. Nothing like it since JFK.

    • efgoldman

      Trump’s biography is going to be a hell of a thing to read.

      “See Donald. See Donald run. Run, Donald, run…”

  • howard

    i have to confess that when i was 15, in 1968, i thought “it’s not for lack of bread/like the grateful dead” was a pretty cool line.

  • nasser

    I can’t believe 65 million people voted to turn America into an ongoing run of The Producers.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      63m

      Trump won slightly less than 63m, Clinton won slightly less than 66m. Rounding down instead, Clinton’s the one with 65m.

  • bw

    While it has not been confirmed in large-n studies yet, finasteride also may have substantial psychological side effects.

    • petesh

      Wouldn’t surprise me. I’m being weaned off a drug that essentially cured an auto-immune disorder and you wouldn’t believe how annoyingly stupid my partner becomes when I change doses … Of course, DJT was a notorious braggart and bully decades ago, so maybe not.

      • bw

        I have little doubt the guy had a personality disorder that long predated taking finasteride. But now we appear to have confirmation from his doctor that he’s taking medication that may even cause problems with the otherwise mentally healthy.

    • It’s a widely prescribed drug. It should be easy enough to data mine the medical records to confirm or refute the statistical link. Wait, that would assume a working national health system. The Canadians or Brits or Swedes could do it. The state of Ontario allowed public health researchers to document a link between dementia and traffic pollution that way.

    • j_doc

      Eh, beware of tiny studies. Finasteride is very widely used, and if it caused suicidal thoughts in almost half of people taking it, that would have been noticed. It’s also been studied in very large (10s of thousands of people) randomized trials, funded by public agencies. We know it reasonably well, and it’s not currently high on the list of worry-inducing drugs. More in the category of metformin and aspirin.

      • Karen24

        About that metformin thing . . . I know hundreds of thousands of people take it, including my mother and my husband. My anecdotal and non-remotely-from-a-medical-professional opinion is that the stuff really does affect a person’s mood and temrpermant negatively. Both mom and Steve get irritable and have odd memory lapses, which get worse if their dosage changes. So, while the stuff Trump takes probably doessn’t cause psych side effects strong enough to be clinical, it might very well have an effect that’s enough to be noticeable and that gets worse under stress.

        • Darkrose

          Can’t speak for anyone else but metformin affects my mood because I’ve had hella stomach trouble since going on it. Having to spend most of the day in the bathroom does tend to make me snarly.

          • Julia Grey

            Get a lower dose. 1000mg did my stomach in, but at 500mg I’m fine.

  • Chip Daniels

    Maybe off topic, but another data point that protests and outcry works
    After a massive backlash, a Republican yanks his bill to sell off public lands

    No it isn’t a final victory, and he will try this again a different way.

    But this is how we fight, one bill at a time, force them to fight and bleed for every inch they get.

    • Karen24

      Yes!!

    • efgoldman

      Way.
      To.
      Go.

      And the asshole Chaffetz, who filed the bill and then pulled it, is one of the True Believers, too.
      Just in case there’s any doubt that their prime directive is “get re-elected.”

    • BiloSagdiyev

      And we’ll fight this president for every inch he’s got!

  • NewishLawyer

    Propecia can also lead to erectile dysfunction

    • nasser

      Does it lead to hand shrinkage too?

      • Thom

        No, but cold water does.

        • Warren Terra

          I’m pretty sure immersion causes hands – or at least keratin in the skin – to swell. Hence wrinkled fingers.

    • John Revolta

      Geez. What’s the point of having great hair then?

  • Mike G

    Trump’s next kickback to the fundagelicals — abolishing the restrictions on political activity by churches

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-religion-idUSKBN15H2M4

    • efgoldman

      Trump’s next kickback to the fundagelicals

      When’s the last time the IRS pulled a churches’ deduction for that?
      I believe “never” is the answer.
      So it makes no damned difference, except now the black ministers will be able to do it, too.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Until the FBI corruption probes and sting operations kick in…

        • Amadan

          A virtual medal to the first person to get a Fox talking head to admit that it could apply to mosques.

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