by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s becoming increasingly probable that former Vice President Joe Biden will be the Democratic Party nominee for president. At the same time, among Republicans anyway, speculation continues that, as for about 10 percent of Americans within his age range, Biden is impaired with dementia. …
… Trump did indeed “ace” the Montreal Cognitive Assessment screening test back in 2018. At the time, this produced triumphant reactions from some. Others declared this test would not pick up on nuances of mental decline or the bigger picture of whether Trump is fit to serve as president. The Montreal screening is hardly the sort of test that identifies how clever one is or how much wisdom one has, of the sort that might be handy in managing just about anything a president has to manage.
But the test (which is no longer easily available online for copyright reasons but is described in detail at VeryWellHealth and a partial image at The Guardian) is meant for a specific objective: screening people for dementia or mild cognitive impairment. It consists of tasks such as drawing a clock face, naming animals based on line drawings, reciting a set of numbers forward and backward, listing as many words as you can think of that start with the letter “f,” and similar questions, for a total of 30 points, with 26 points required to “pass” the screening, and a lower cutoff differentiating between mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
I have watched someone take this test. To a cognitively unimpaired person, the questions seem trivial. But the individual I watched take this screening could not answer questions that to an unimpaired person would seem obvious. These are not “trick questions.” It’s not an IQ test, nor is it designed to ferret out nuances. But if a person really is impaired, the test will identify it.