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Trump Releases Medical Information In Doctor's Letter


Doctors for both Hillary Clinton and now Donald Trump say the candidates are physically fit to serve as president. Today the Trump campaign released a doctor's note saying Trump is in excellent health. Trump also went on the popular and controversial "Dr. Oz Show" to talk about his health. NPR's Richard Harris has the details.

RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: The health of candidates always comes up during elections for understandable reasons. This year - no surprise - the matter has become nasty. Trump and his surrogates, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, had been raising doubts about Hillary Clinton's health through rumor and innuendo.

When Clinton came down with pneumonia a week ago, she didn't mention it until she was visibly weak. Yesterday her doctor released a two-page letter detailing Clinton's health history, saying the candidate is recovering. Indeed she was back on the campaign trail today.

Also today, Trump's campaign released a letter about his health. Shortly before Fox TV aired an hour-long segment on "The Dr. Oz Show" and that Oz tossed the candidate softball questions.


MEHMET OZ: When you look into the mirror, how old's the person you're looking at? What do you see?

DONALD TRUMP: I would say I see a person that's 35 years old.

HARRIS: Oz did talk to Trump about his weight. According to the data that his doctor provided, Trump would be considered obese if he were even a few pounds heavier. The candidate did say he'd like to lose some weight. Instead Trump says he gets his exercise by appearing at campaign rallies.


TRUMP: Well, it's a lot of work, you know? When I'm speaking in front of 15,000 to 20,000 people and I'm up there using a lot of motion, I guess in its own way, it's a pretty healthy act.

HARRIS: That is not a realistic way to keep physically fit. Trump said he usually plays golf but can't manage that during the campaign. Oz used a letter from Trump's doctor as a point of discussion, and the campaign released that letter in the morning before the show aired.

In it, Trump's doctor, Harold Bornstein, reported normal readings from a series of medical tests. As he had reported in a previous letter that contained more hyperbole than facts, Trump is taking a cholesterol-lowering medication and baby aspirin.

Dr. Ranit Mishori, a professor of family medicine at Georgetown University, says the new letter was much better than Bornstein's previous one, but it was still lacking basic information.

RANIT MISHORI: There is no information about his immunizations history. There's no full medical history. We don't have the results of a physical examination, and but what jumped at me the most from this letter is the issue of over-testing.

HARRIS: Many of the tests, including a testosterone reading, are unnecessary and not recommended because they can lead to overtreatment. Mishori wonders whether the tests were run because there was some underlying medical concern or simply because the doctors of wealthy people are more likely to order up tests. Richard Harris, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Award-winning journalist Richard Harris has reported on a wide range of topics in science, medicine and the environment since he joined NPR in 1986. In early 2014, his focus shifted from an emphasis on climate change and the environment to biomedical research.

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