This story contains at least 3 neurological issues of interest.
Conspiracy theorists have stressed witness testimony that the back of Kennedy’s head was blown out, suggesting a shot from the Grassy Knoll.
Lone assassin theorists have stressed the photographic evidence and the autopsy x-rays, which show the back of the head intact. The panel (inserted above) shows four of the dozens of versions of Kennedy’s head wound.
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Second, even if you believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, some conspiracy theorists would have you believe he was a Manchurian Candidate, manipulated by mind-control experts to carry out the assassination of JFK.
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Finally, there is Jack Ruby‘s murder of Lee Harvey Oswald:
Defense expert Frederick Gibbs, one of the pioneers in the use of electroencephalography for the diagnosis and management of epilepsy, testified that Ruby’s EEG showed right temporal 6/s sharp waves, and that this was evidence of “psychomotor epilepsy”.
Gibbs suggested that affected patients manifest personality instability, lack of emotional control, convulsive and excessive types of behavior. He, and other physician experts at the trial further postulated that Ruby killed Oswald during a fugue state induced by a psychomotor seizure.
This image of Ruby shooting Oswald was used at trial – Ruby is seen using his middle finger to pull the trigger, with his left hand thrown out in the opposite direction, supposedly indicating a seizure.
The prosecution’s neurology expert disagreed, stating that the EEG findings were a “slight abnormality” and didn’t indicate epilepsy. Furthermore, he indicated that Ruby’s demeanor and behavior, as described by witnesses, were not consistent with a psychomotor seizure.
Ruby was convicted, and sentenced to death.
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This EEG “finding” is now known to be a normal variant with no clinical significance.
This case underscores the importance of treating the patient, not the test result, an adage well known to true clinicians everywhere.