Assessing Trump cognitive assessment

To the Editor:

I thought it would be interesting for us to look at the type of questions asked in the Montreal Cognitive Assessment which was given to the president by his physician. I worked in a senior mental health facility for several years and we assessed patients for mild cognitive impairment and for dementia. The test is not used for any psychological deficit and it is not an intelligence test. It is also not unlike a mini-mental assessment made by most physicians and mental health providers. The questions are very simple, and the test lasts only 10 minutes.

The questions are given verbally. Here are just some of the examples: Draw a clock with the hours and showing the time as 2:30 (3 points). Draw a three dimensional cube. Count backward from 100 by 3. Name the drawings (camel, lion. rhinoceros). This is worth a total of 3 points. What is today’s date and what city are you in right now (6 points)? It would be common for a normal person to score 30 out of 30 (total points). It is not an intelligence test. It is not a predictor of how future performance would be unless the person shows some cognitive impairment.

Dr. Ronny Johnson tried to tie Trump’s future performance as president with this simple test. I think most of us lay persons or professionals can make judgments of how capable we think the president is by simple observations of his tweets, statements and behavior. I think the only thing this test shows is that the president is not showing signs of cognitive impairment in this test at this time. Again it does not show that Trump is a genius nor does it show that he is mentally or emotionally stable.

Carol Malispina