Donald Trump was recently given the all-clear to return to his duties as president by his personal physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson. And during a Tuesday night press conference, Jackson revealed that Trump, at his own request, was screened for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease using a cognitive test called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. According to the Guardian, the president scored a perfect 30/30, meaning he’s mentally fit for duty.
You, the reader, can also take the test yourself. It’s publicly available on document-hosting site Scribd. If you plan to take it, fire up your printer or grab some scrap paper, as there’s a writing component. You’ll also need a friend to temporarily assume the role of your neurologist and “administer” it to you, as there is a memory component. There are also a couple of parts of it that are rather subjective, so you may fail to get a point for properly drawing a clock if your “neurologist” is a good artist or is otherwise picky.
What Is The MoCA?
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment was invented in Canada in 1996 by Lebanese immigrant Ziad Nasreddine, according to the Washington Post. So popular is the test that it’s been translated into over 50 languages and dialects, and is used in over 100 countries.
Nassredine, who currently works as director of the MoCA Clinic and Institute in Quebec, said he was personally honored that his test has become a subject of discussion in the news.
“It’s really an honor for me. I’m really thrilled and happy they decided to use it over other tests.”
Wait, What Other Tests?
The MoCA may be the most popular and widely-used dementia assessment, but it’s not the first or the only one. There’s also the Mini-Mental State Examination, according to a companion report by the Washington Post. The MMSE requires the testee to count backward from 100 by subtracting seven (93, 86, 79, and so on), spell words backward, and similar tasks.
So which is better? While preferences between different clinicians will play a role, and cultural issues in both the clinician and the patient will be a factor (some cultures have different notions of time and/or of expressing it, potentially rendering the MoCA’s clock segment irrelevant), the general consensus seems to be that the MoCA is the way to go, according to Today’s Geriatric Medicine.
So What Conclusions Should We Draw From Trump’s Score?
Washington Post writer Philip Bump is reticent about making too much out of Trump’s perfect score on the test. In short, says Bump, the test is so easy that anyone who is not clearly into dementia can pass it perfectly, which is the point.
“It’s not the SAT; it’s a screening device… Yes, Trump passed with flying colors, as any adult with normal cognitive function probably would. And that’s the point. There’s every indication from Tuesday’s report that Trump maintains normal cognitive function. That he passed the test is just like you successfully singing the alphabet song.”
Still, as far as Trump’s doctor is concerned, his patient’s score on the test should put to rest any speculation that Trump is mentally unfit to be president.