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Memory a key issue in 2024 presidential election

Memory a key issue in 2024 presidential election
Memory a key issue in 2024 presidential election 03:08

MINNEAPOLIS — Among all the issues being debated in the 2024 presidential race, there is one issue that is especially personal.

The issue is memory. Both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have had very public memory lapses.

Trump at 77 and Biden at 81 are the two oldest major candidates to run for president. Both have had memory issues. 

The special counsel looking into Biden's handling of classified documents described Biden as "an elderly man with a poor memory" and that a jury would likely not convict him because of that. 

Trump has had his own memory stumbles recently, referring once to his wife Melania as "Mercedes" and more than once referring to Biden as former President Barack Obama. Polls consistently show that the public is more concerned with Biden's lapses.

A New York Times/Sienna poll earlier this month shows that while 42% agree or somewhat agree that Trump is too old to be president, those numbers are significantly higher for Biden. Seventy-three percent agree or somewhat agree that Biden is too old to be president. 

WCCO wondered when slip-ups with names are a serious matter for any of us and what is relatively normal for any age. 

Dr. Dongming Cai, the director of the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care at the University of Minnesota, was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning at 10:30 a.m.

Asking a memory expert about lapses by Biden, Trump 05:48

"In general, actually it's common to mix up names in conversation, or even the name of someone who is close to you, in conversation," she said. "It can happen occasionally, especially if you are interacting with a large number of people, or you are under stress, or having a lot of distractions, so this is not necessarily a sign of significant memory problems."

Cai said it's when the mix-ups become frequent or even constant that you should start being concerned. The N. Bud Grossman Center at the U is devoted to clinical research on memory disorders and to provide expertise in caring for those with dementia and other memory ailments. Research is going on around the world in this field. Here in Minnesota, there is also ongoing research on dementia and memory disorders at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Adam Del Rosso every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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