Until now, if you'd been looking for a physical reason why the William Howard Taft administration was generally considered a disappointment, you probably would have cited Taft's portliness as unbecoming an active president. Now Dr. John G. Sotos has a new theory. In an article for the September issue of the journal CHEST, Sotos posits that our twenty-seventh president suffered from severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The story is unavailable on the CHEST site, nor at the American College of Chest Physicians, but thanks to a timely spam, we have details:
While sleep apnea was not a known medical condition during Taft's term, Dr. Sotos examines historical documents that illustrate that the former President had risk factors and displayed signs that are common among individuals with OSA.
Such signs include President Taft's inability to control where and when he fell asleep, which he would frequently do while driving, eating, standing, appearing at public affairs, and even while talking to important figures such as the Chief Supreme Court Justice and President Theodore Roosevelt. He also snored regularly and suffered from daytime sleepiness, systemic hypertension, and possibly mental impairment.
In addition to describing his grounds for diagnosis, Dr. Sotos discusses the ramifications of his findings, such as whether or not President Taft would have been considered disabled according to the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and how OSA affected Taft's ability to serve as president.
And now you know the r-r-r-rest of the story!
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