Trump health check: would you pass the Montreal cognitive test?

President aced ten-minute routine screening but how reliable is it?

Donald Trump
Trump has almost 47 million Twitter followers
(Image credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s doctor has announced that the US president received a perfect 30 out of 30 score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a tool that screens patients for mental conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment.

White House physician Ronny Jackson says he has “absolutely no concerns” about Trump’s cognitive ability, the brain-based skills needed to carry out both simple and complex tasks.

But what is the Montreal test, and is it conclusive?

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Studies show that the test can be used to spot problems with the brain’s executive functioning “even before other signs of mental decline are apparent”, The Washington Post says.

Although the standard Montreal test is “pretty good”, it is “not definitive”, Dr Ronald Petersen, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Reuters.

The Alzheimer’s Association says the disease is not detected through just one test but through a complete assessment that considers possible causes.

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The 30-point Montreal test takes about ten minutes and requires patients to perform memory and other mental tasks, CNN says. Participants are asked, for example, to draw a line between a number and a letter in ascending order; to draw a clock and put numbers on it; and to remember a list of common words.

People with a good or average memory generally forget one of the five words and are still within the normal range, Dr James Mastrianni, an expert in neurodegenerative conditions, told Reuters.

What the Montreal test does not do is assess psychiatric fitness - and Trump did not undergo a psychiatric evaluation, according to his doctor.

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