17/01/2018 14:39 GMT

Here's What We Didn't Learn From Donald Trump's MOCA Cognitive Assessment

There's a few things it doesn't test for - take it yourself.

The cognitive test taken by Donald Trump last week is not a comprehensive psychological evaluation, its creator has said.

In the wake of the ‘Fire and Fury’ book revelations which cast doubt on his fitness for office, the President took the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) as part of a physical exam that found he was in “excellent” health with no evidence of mental decline.

But Dr Ziad Nasreddine, who devised the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA), told Canada’s CTV it does not examine “problems in judgment and the person’s ability to judge or to take decisions”.

He added: “It’s a cognitive test meaning that it assesses memory, executive function, spatial skills, calculation - so it’s mostly cognition that is assessed, not the rest of the mental abilities.

“It’s not a psychiatric assessment - if you’re worried about mental illness then [any test] has to be a psychiatric exam with a psychiatrist.”

The MOCA test is a 10-minute routine screening test and, unless the patient is indeed displaying signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, is incredibly basic (an online version of the test can be downloaded here but requires registration).

Dr Ziad Nasreddine

Once you’ve done the test, tot up the scores. 

  • Around 16 - cognitive health of an Alzheimer’s patient
  • Around 22 - cognitive health of someone with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
  • Above 26 - normal
  • 30 - perfect score

Trump’s mental fitness for the Presidency had come under intense scrutiny after the recent controversial book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” portrayed him as childlike and mercurial.

Trump responded with a stream of tweets insisting he is in fact a “stable genius”. 

Past presidents have not been tested for mental acuity while in office, including Ronald Reagan, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, an incurable, degenerative brain condition, five years after leaving the White House in 1989.

Carlos Barria / Reuters
Ronny Jackson spent over an hour answering questions on the exam.

The White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, who speaks with Trump a few times a day and travels with him, told a press conference yesterday he did not think the president needed cognitive testing based on medical guidelines - but added the 30-question Montreal Cognitive Assessment at Trump’s request.

The Navy doctor exhausted reporters’ questions during an unusually lengthy hour-long session, atTrump’s request, and said he did not withhold any information in the interests of privacy, reports Reuters.

“He said, ‘I want you to get out there and I want you to talk to them and I want you to answer every single question they have,’” Jackson said of Trump.

Other results from the medical exam were unremarkable but Trump needs to shed weight by cutting calories, fats and carbohydrates and starting a daily exercise routine.

The 71-year-old is known to enjoy high-fat foods like fried chicken, hamburgers and steak - and, while he plays golf, he does not have a daily exercise routine.

Jackson said Trump is going to try to lose 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kg) by eating better and starting to exercise.