Candidates' Medical Records: Often Revealing, Always Guarded

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Health of Presidential Candidates Have Long History of Being Important But Guarded Information

On Wednesday, presidential candidate Donald Trump taped an appearance on the Dr. Oz show, set to air on Thursday. Trump took questions about his health and appeared to disclose some of his medical information. Hillary Clinton also released more details about her recent bout with pneumonia.

The disclosures come during a week when the issue of the health of the presidential contenders has been front and center. But just how relevant are the medical histories of the candidates?

History has shown that it could be relevant. Paul Tsongas ran for president in 1992, telling reporters he was cancer-free only to die five years later from liver problems sustained while treating the disease. Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke while in office after years of documented cerebrovascular issues, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s heart failure meant a personal physician had to travel with him as he negotiated the end of World War II.

But just how much medical information should a candidate release?

Mary Harris, from our Only Human podcast, asked several experts about it and found divergent views. She spoke with WNYC's Jami Floyd about what she learned, and what we should be asking the presidential candidates about their health.