U.S. President Donald Trump's recent, much-publicized medical checkup contained something called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, a test devised to help doctors detect early signs of dementia.
Trump achieved a perfect 30 out of 30 on the test.
As the name indicates, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment — or MoCA — was developed in Montreal by a Lebanese immigrant named Ziad Nasreddine, a neurologist who created the test in 1996, which has since been used in more than 200 countries, and translated into more than 65 languages.
"When I came back from a chalet after doing cognitive training there, I realized we did not have a sensitive-enough cognitive screening tool to assess our patients who complain of memory impairment," Dr. Nasreddine told CJAD 800's Natasha Hall. "The ones that existed were too simple and they were not able to detect early impairment."
Dr. Nasreddine's test requires patients to perform tasks such as drawing a clock, identifying animals and remembering words, and takes about 10 minutes to complete — a fraction of the time it took earlier tests to finish.
Did it surprise Dr. Nasreddine that Trump — the self-proclaimed "very stable genius" — aced the test?
"I don't know if someone gave him the answers, but I wasn't there to check how the test was administered," he said. "It is a surprisingly high score, but it is possible to get 30 out of 30 on it."
Any score lower than 26 or 27 would mean a patient would undergo further testing.
Dr. Nasreddine stresses the test measures cognitive functions, not intelligence or personality.
He adds he was thrilled the White House medical staff chose the test, and would be honored to be called on to administer it. "It's always a pleasure to hear," he says.