Home / General / Why has Kevin Cannard been visiting the White House so often lately?

Why has Kevin Cannard been visiting the White House so often lately?

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I realize that most of the commentariat has become completely unhinged on the question of whether Joe Biden may have parkinsonism of some type. It’s been pretty sad and disturbing to see longtime and usually excellent commenters make absolute fools of themselves over this matter, such as one such commenter who I will tactfully leave unnamed, who insists that raising this issue at all is no different than “just asking questions” about whether Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

So I don’t expect much useful engagement with this post. But since I’m pursuing this story, and since there are at least a few commenters who haven’t lost their minds about it — a group that tellingly includes the three self-identified doctors I’ve seen comment about it — I’m going to discuss the latest twist in this saga.

That development is that yesterday several outlets reported that Kevin Cannard visited the White House eight times between August of last year and this past March. This is per the White House Visitor Logs, which currently end as of March 31st, so we don’t know if or how often he’s visited in the three-plus months since.

Who is Kevin Cannard?

Cannard has served as the “neurology specialist supporting the White House medical unit” since 2012 and published academic papers including one last year in the Parkinsonism & Related Disorders journal that focused on the “early stage” of the brain degenerative disorder.

The White House medical unit, which has existed since 1945 (I wouldn’t be surprised if the immediate impetus for creating it was FDR’s sudden death from a stroke in April of that year), is a group of several dozen medical personnel primarily dedicated to monitoring the president’s health, and providing treatment when appropriate. Cannard has been the group’s neurologist for the past dozen years, and it’s notable that, per the White House Logs, he never actually visited the White House in his first ten years in that role. His first visit was in November of 2022, when his contact person for the visit was Joshua Simmons, who appears to be an emergency medicine specialist.

The following summer Cannard started making regular visits to the White House, visiting in July, August, September, October, and November, and then again in January and March of this year. For all but one of these visits, his contact person was Megan Nasworthy, a nurse who is the White House liaison between Walter Reed, where Cannard works, and the White House medical unit. For the January visit, his contact person was Kevin O’Connor, who is Joe Biden’s personal physician. O’Connor issued a letter in February, which among other things said that Biden’s annual physical had turned up “no finding which would be consistent with” Parkinson’s disease.

The current public position of both the White House and Biden himself is that Biden has never been examined for Parkinson’s, because he’s never exhibited any symptoms that would warrant such an examination. A Parkinson’s evaluation is an elaborate series of cognitive tests, since diagnosis of the disease is almost purely clinical. The standard course of treatment is, if such tests indicate it’s warranted, giving the patient Levodopa or similar drugs, and then seeing if that alleviates symptoms. Another diagnostic step, as a leading Parkinson’s expert notes, would be “to perform a DAT scan to assess if the dopamine innervation of the brain has been reduced.”  A DAT scan is an imaging technique that uses a radioactive drug to evaluate the brain’s dopamine system’s response to the treatment.

The White House was also quite explicit on Tuesday that Biden had not been given Levodopa or any other similar drug, which one would think would follow from his never having had any Parkinson’s symptoms, which is why he’s never been evaluated for the presence of the disease, and why there’s no plan to do so at this time.

It’s difficult to convey just how outrageous of a lie it is to claim that Biden has never had any symptoms of Parkinson’s. As a recent medical graduate told me this morning, Biden looks like the videos she was shown in medical school to illustrate the classic presentation for Parkinson’s. People might want to ask themselves why they should believe anything the White House says on this topic, given how egregiously they’re lying about the claim that Biden is asymptomatic.

Since a lot of commenters have decided that saying Biden has symptoms of Parkinson’s is the same thing as saying Biden has Parkinson’s, let me attempt to be very clear about this. If Biden had a persistent hacking cough, he would have a symptom of Covid. This would not mean he had Covid, since that symptom could have other causes. The symptom would, however, be a strong argument for taking a Covid test.

Which brings us back to Kevin Cannard, expert in early stage Parkinson’s detection, and sudden recent White House regular visitor. Why was Cannard visiting the White House almost every month between last August and this past March, after having never visited the White House even once in his first decade as the White House medical team’s designated neurologist?

Some possibilities include:

(1) This has nothing to do with Joe Biden, because he was consulting on or treating someone else’s case. The White House medical team oversees the health of other top White House officials, and maybe somebody else was being treated for Parkinson’s, although none of these other officials live at the White House, and it’s hard to imagine why they would be evaluated or treated for the disease there.

(2) Cannard was consulting in re Biden’s health, and concluded, apparently repeatedly, that there was no need to give Biden an examination to confirm or rule out the presence of Parkinson’s.

(3) Cannard was visiting so often because he was pressing his superior(s) in the chain of command in the unit, which would include at least Kevin O’Connor, to evaluate Biden for Parkinson’s, and was unsuccessful in doing so, either because O’Connor did not present Biden with this recommendation, or he did and Biden refused to follow it.

(4) Cannard has been treating Biden for Parkinson’s.

Note that possibilities (3) and (4) would require the White House to be lying to the public about this matter.

Possibility (2) includes the difficulty that, if this were the case, it’s hard to understand why the White House wouldn’t be explicit about the fact that an expert in early Parkinson’s has checked in on the situation repeatedly over the last eleven months, and has concluded and continues to conclude that nothing warrants evaluating Biden for Parkinson’s.

Kevin O’Connor, after all, clearly lacks the relevant specific professional expertise to make such a definitive judgment himself. The diagnosis of early Parkinson’s, as has been emphasized to me by several experts in the matter, is a subtle thing, that should not be attempted by a medical generalist. Cannard is exactly the sort of expert who is qualified to rule out Parkinson’s, so if he has, not mentioning it under the present circumstances — which include prominent Parkinson’s experts saying it sure looks like Joe Biden has lots of classic Parkinson’s symptoms and should therefore be given tests that, per the White House, he hasn’t been given — seems peculiar.

Possibility (1) requires, to use the appropriate diagnostic terminology, a really hellacious coincidence.

So why has Kevin Cannard, early Parkinson’s expert, been making regular house calls to the White House for the last year, or at least as of the end of March? That’s a question that both the Democratic party and the American people need answered immediately.

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