W.H. doc: “Absolutely no concerns” about Trump’s cognitive ability


Last Updated Jan 16, 2018 7:07 PM EST

President Trump asked his doctor to perform an exam testing his cognitive abilities during his physical last week even though the physician said the exam was not necessary. The president scored a 30 out of 30 on the test.

“I have absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability,” Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, M.D., told reporters during a White House press briefing on Tuesday.

Jackson said he gave the president a test called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), which is “a cognitive screening test designed to assist Health Professionals in the detection of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease,” according to its website.

Dr. Marc L. Gordon, a professor at the Litwin-Zucker Center for Alzheimer’s Disease & Memory Disorders at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Chief of Neurology at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York, said MoCA is “one of the more standard screening tests.”

“It’s been pretty well validated in terms of screening populations,” Gordon told CBS News.

Sample questions include drawing the hands on a clock, naming pictures of animals, repeating a list of numbers forwards and backwards, and naming as many words as possible beginning with the letter F in one minute.

A score of 26 points or above out of a possible 30 is considered normal.

“What it can tell you is that at least in a brief screening test there was no significant cognitive impairment,” said Gordon, who was not involved in examining Mr. Trump. “We can say that there’s no overt evidence of dementia based on this screening test.”

However, he emphasizes that it’s not a comprehensive neuropsychological exam.

“It doesn’t address issues like emotional temperament or personality,” Gordon said.

Jackson examined the president for three hours last Friday, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, marking his first medical checkup since taking office.

The physician said he initially had no intention of including the cognitive assessment in the exam because he did not deem it necessary, but Trump insisted.

“He came to me and said, ‘Is there something we can do, some kind of test to assess my cognitive ability?’ So I looked into it,” Jackson said. “That was not driven at all by any clinical concern I had, it was driven by the president’s wishes. And he did well on it.”

Jackson says he sees Mr. Trump several times a day and describes him as “very sharp,” noting that “he’s very articulate when he speaks to me.”

“I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think that the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought process,” he said.

After fully examining Trump, Jackson concluded that the president is “in excellent health.”

You can see an example of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test below.


The Montreal Cognitive Assessment


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