By Dr. Dave Hnida

DENVER (CBS4) – President Donald Trump underwent his annual physical exam Tuesday, and overall, the results were good, especially for cardiovascular health.

gettyimages 891786464 Take The Same Cognitive Exam As President Trump

President Donald Trump (credit: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

The part of the testing that got the most attention, however, was that of cognitive testing. In other words, a screening exam of mental function.

The screening used is one common in medical offices across the nation. It’s called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, one of several we use to screen for early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and this particular one is considered to be an adequate screening test.

LINK: Take The Test (pdf)

It only takes 10 minutes, and involves a variety of tasks to take a snapshot of mental abilities. It has a few strengths and weaknesses, which we’ll talk about in a second.

moca2 Take The Same Cognitive Exam As President Trump

Montreal Cognitive Assessment (credit: CBS)

The test itself has many parts, including:

– The ability to draw a line from a number to a letter
– Being able to draw a clock
– Drawing a cube
– Being able to name a group of animals, such as a lion, rhinoceros, and camel
– The ability to repeat a phrase
– Repeat a series of numbers

… And several other tasks.

Now, here are some things to remember before drawing conclusions either way about the results.

Note the number of times I use the word “screening” test. That’s all it is — a screening. It is far from comprehensive.

A perfect score is 30. Most people age 65 and older are able to score this number, although as people age, the scores can decrease.

Passing is 27 or higher.

It, once again, is a screening tool for dementia.

It does not test for non-age-related cognitive problems or any mental disorders.

It does not measure IQ or intelligence.

The test is quick and easy to administer, which is why we often uses it when a person has their first Medicare physical.

So all in all, the test needs to be put in perspective. It’s good, but not perfect.

If you wonder just what’s involved in the test, here’s the opportunity to take the same one the President took.

Remember, you have 10 minutes, and will need a helper to ask a few of the questions — but even done alone, you’ll get the basic idea.

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida

Comments
  1. Sam Osborne says:

    The attempt on the part of Trump’s doctor was to equate a cursory measure of cognition with sound mental health and those two twain need not meet. To wit, Jack the Ripper fully understood a straight rip when he made one.

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