What Doctors Learn About Their Patients From the Cognitive Test That Trump ‘Aced’

Once President Trump started bragging last month that he’d “aced” a cognitive test, it didn’t take long for reporters and pundits to discover the specific test, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test. Medical professionals, including the test’s creator, Dr. Ziad Nasreddine, pointed out that the test was designed to be a quick screening test of cognitive impairment, “not a sort of intelligence test.”

The test, and the president’s bragging about his answers to specific questions, quickly became fodder for Trump critics and late-night comedians, with Jimmy Fallon saying the president sounded like “someone playing charades after pounding Chardonnay.” Meanwhile, weeks later the Trump campaign is still using it as fodder to question Joe Biden’s mental acuity.


Jokes and campaign ads aside, the test does serve an important purpose for physicians who are dealing with patients who may have undiagnosed cognitive impairments, whether that be dementia, stroke, brain injury, or other conditions. 

As summarized by physician Dr. Robert Glatter, in Forbes, it “is designed to assess how we acquire, store, process and retrieve information. It measures things such as basic memory, attention, rudimentary language, delayed recall of objects, and orientation to the date, month, day, place and city.” 

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