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If he weren't perfectly right in the head, how could he be the best president ever?


More big news from the Republican congressional retreat in West Virginia, where yesterday Donald Trump told the gathering a bit of a lie about how Orrin Hatch has the most tremendous, spectacular man-crush on Donald Trump that any senator has ever had on a president in history. After the public remarks Trump allowed to be put on the YouTubes, he dismissed reporters from the room, called them a bunch of "haters," and offered some additional thoughts to the crowd as they hung on every word, eager for the dribblings of his wisdom. Happily, Breitbart's Home For Radiant Trumpfluffing got an audio recording of that part of the event, too, part of which involved Trump making jocular remarks about his big physical at Walter Reed earlier this month, where he proved he's 100 percent mentally fit!

Thump apparently was very pleased that he got a "30-for-30” score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which isn't really so much a test of presidential fitness as a screening for full-blown dementia. Let's hang on every breathless detail of Breitbart "reporter" Charlie Spierling's account!

“You know that’s risky. If I take it, it doesn’t come out so good, they don’t get rid of it,” Trump said about the test. “It’s risky, does that make sense to people?

He said that in the beginning of the test, he had to identify sketches of animals, which was pretty easy.

Later in the test, he explained, he had to repeat disassociated words as the test administrators asked him to repeat them at different points in the test.

“Let me tell you, those last ten questions are hard,” he said, and added. “There aren’t a lot of people that can do that.”

Um. First off, the test doesn't HAVE 30 items, it has a 30-point scale for scoring. Acing it isn't a sign of anything except that you probably don't have dementia just yet. Anyone who doesn't have cognitive impairment should do just fine, because it's a test for whether you have problems, not a test of how brilliant you are, you prat.

But yes, Trump identified "camel."

Not long after Trump first "passed" the test, William Perry, the director of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, cautioned that in some cases, the screening can give a normal score while missing "an underlying cognitive disorder" that can "only be detected through a more thorough neuropsychological evaluation." He noted that up to 14 percent of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's can still have screening scores in the normal range.

Further, "normal" really is the highest score available on the test. There are no "outstanding" or "excellent" scores since, as a Washington Post column explains, the whole point of the test is diagnostic -- it shouldn't be hard at all for anyone with normal cognitive function, but difficulties with individual items can give insight into specific problems.

For instance, there's nothing hard about being asked to draw a clock face showing ten o'clock, but patients with impaired executive function could have trouble just planning how to make a simple drawing, like putting the numbers on with 12 at the top, six on the bottom, and so on, as this example from the column illustrates. In other attempts, the subject put the numbers in the right places but couldn't draw the hands to indicate 10:00, or started the numbers going around in the right direction but ran out of room, without the 3, 6, and 9 in the right spots. That's impaired planning.

Nor should the "last 10 questions" be especially hard, since the test isn't arranged in rank of "difficulty," or even in a way that would make the "last 10" items especially stand out from the others. The whole point is that a normal adult shouldn't have difficulty with any of the items.

Here, take a look for yourself -- but remember that it's not a test for self-diagnosis, and you are probably not a doctor, except for you doctors:

Moca test by The Guardian on Scribd