President Donald Trump waves after speaking at the Conversations with the Women of America at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Trump aces mental aptitude test designed by Canadian immigrant

“This is a good example, I think, that will be helpful to change views about immigration. And maybe for Mr. Trump himself to consider immigrants as contributors to advancing science, advancing our societies.”

When the White House released the results of a test on Donald Trump’s mental aptitude Tuesday, showing he aced it without signs of cognitive decline, there was one person out there brimming with pride despite not knowing the president.

That person was Ziad Nasreddine — who designed the test.

The Lebanese-Canadian neurologist learned from a reporter Tuesday afternoon that the White House had selected the Montreal Cognitive Assessment to test the president’s faculties after days of speculation about his state.

This was the test Nasreddine developed as a young researcher two decades ago, in an effort to quickly assess, within 10 or 12 minutes, whether someone has suffered light cognitive impairment or the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, by asking them to perform tasks such as drawing a clock, identifying animals and remembering words.

He says it has now been used in 200 countries, in 60 languages, and has been deployed in one developing country to demonstrate its leader was no longer fit to govern. On Tuesday, the White House announced Trump’s score: 30 for 30.

”It’s really an honour for me,” said Nasreddine, now affiliated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities in Quebec.

”I’m really thrilled, and happy they decided to use it over other tests.”

Related: New year, new start? Not for President Trump

The White House doctor announced during a briefing with reporters that he selected the Montreal cognitive test among several available. Dr. Ronny Jackson — who also worked with the previous administration, and was praised in social media by former Barack Obama staff — said he never doubted this president’s cognitive ability. He said he talks to Trump daily, and didn’t feel he even needed the test.

”The president asked me to do it,” Jackson said.

Washington had been abuzz in recent days with details from a tell-all-style book suggesting everyone in Trump’s entourage questions his mental stability. Trump had responded by referring to himself as a “stable genius,” and requested the cognitive exam.

Nasreddine cautioned that his exam doesn’t test for everything.

It’s designed to identify early cognitive decline — not other psychological issues, or personality attributes, such as judgment. He also points out that it can be tricked by someone with a very high level of education.

”The test is a screening measure. It has limitations,” he said.

”It’s a test mostly for executive functions, and memory. Meaning organization, planning, abstract thinking… (Still), if it’s 30 on 30 it’s really reassuring — in terms of the ability of the person to have minimum cognitive function to be able to do important things, in terms of language, memory, executive function. It does not absolutely assess personality issues.”

He’s proud of one other thing about this news.

Related: Trump gets ‘excellent health’ report from White House doctor

Nasreddine came to Canada as a teenager with his Druze family during the civil war in his homeland, Lebanon. He was 15. He, his widowed mother, and his sisters came to visit an uncle for the summer of 1983 — and, with their country ravaged by sectarian strife, they stayed.

They applied for permanent residency; he went to school, eventually attended the University of California at Los Angeles, and moved back to Canada in the 1990s when he designed the cognitive test.

He recognizes the irony of his test having helped a president who kept out war refugees, promoted a Muslim travel ban, is working to end chain migration where relatives help other relatives immigrate and reportedly used crude terms during Oval Office meetings to describe poor countries immigrants come from.

He says he hopes the president draws some lessons from his story.

”I’m an immigrant,” said Nasreddine.

”It’s an honour for me to be able to contribute, to assessing the president of the United States. No matter who the person is, for me it’s an honour. … I think immigrants can be proud that they are contributing. And this is a good example, I think, that will be helpful to change views about immigration. And maybe for Mr. Trump himself to consider immigrants as contributors to advancing science, advancing our societies.”

Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: McHappy Day helps local groups

Flipside Youth Centre and 198 RCSCC Yukon both benefited from this year’s McHappy Day

The Cooperators show appreciation for Sylvan Lake Community

The Cooperators held a free barbecue on May 24

Final 4-H Club update of the season

Red Deer West 4-H Beef Club gives an update about the last month before going on summer vacation

Sylvan Lake chosen as official relay stop for 2019 Canada Winter Games

There will be 26 official torch relay stops and 22 celebration stops across the country

Hundreds came to Sylvan for first War on the Shore tournament

The lacrosse tournament was held for peewee, bantam and midget teams

SLIDESHOW: The summer season kicks off with the Farmer’s Market

The first weekly farmer’s market was held on May 18

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Layton Green wins centennial Falkland Stampede buckle

The Meeting Creek saddle bronc rider’s 2018 season is starting to kick off at a decent pace.

The priciest home for sale in Canada: A $38M Vancouver penthouse

Canada’s luxury real estate: The top 10 most expensive properties for sale right now

Toronto opening 800 emergency spaces to deal with influx of refugee claimants

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds in the city’s east end.

Update: Trump cancels summit with North Korea

Trump cancels June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim, citing ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’ in recent statement

Rivers rising: Floods in B.C., New Brunswick a warning of what’s to come

In B.C., thousands of residents are returning to homes this week marked with red or yellow signs indicating a health inspection is necessary

North Korea demolishes nuke test site with series of blasts

North Korea has carried out what it says is the demolition of its nuclear test site in the presence of foreign journalists.

Most Read