Donald Trump took a medical exam yesterday. It probably hasn't escaped your attention, given the coverage the test and subsequent press conference have received. Dr Ronny Jackson said that Trump is "fit for duty" and in excellent health, despite claims in Fire and Fury that the President spends a lot of time in bed eating Big Macs.
Part of the exam that has drawn a lot of attention is his cognitive assessment. Several public figures, including Joe Scarborough and Michael Moore, have gone on record saying Trump is showing early signs of dementia, so the results were eagerly awaited by these critics. His mental health is the subject of a lot of online speculation too, even though he tweeted to confirm that he is, in fact, "a very stable genius".
In his cognitive test, however, he managed to score a perfect 30/30. So what was the test?
The assessment, carried out by his physician, was the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. It is designed to assist medical professionals in detecting cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, and is a standard part of a full medical carried out on people of Trump's age.
The 10-minute test assesses short-term memory, attention, concentration, language, and visuospatial abilities, giving medical practitioners an indication of the subject's cognitive abilities. It isn't designed to diagnose Alzheimer's or impaired cognitive function by itself, but it can lead to further inquiries being carried out, should the subject get a low score.
Here is the test that Trump would have taken.
In one area of the test, the subject is asked to draw a clock face, showing a time specified by the physician. The patient draws the clock, and is awarded one point each for:
- Drawing the clock face as a circle (slight imperfections are allowed)
- Getting the numbers correct and in the correct order
- Getting the time right, with the hour hand being shorter than the minute hand
Alternative trail making
Subjects are asked to draw a trail from A to E. Each letter is matched with a number (A-1, B-2) and the subject must draw their trail in ascending order. The correct order would go 1-A-2-B-3-C-4-D-5-E.
One point is awarded for each successful pairing of a letter to its corresponding number. If a patient makes a mistake that isn't immediately corrected, zero points are awarded.
Patients are shown a cube. They are asked to replicate it, and awarded a point if it matches the drawing on the page.