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Frequent errors with popular dementia test prompt review, new training requirements

| | August 1, 2019

Dr. Ronny Jackson, then the White House physician, gave Donald Trump a standard test to detect early signs of dementia — and said the president had scored a perfect 30. … A media outlet even posted its questions online, suggesting readers could measure whether they were “fit to be U.S. president.”

Dr. Ziad Nasreddine, the creator of that test, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, went with it. Within weeks, the Lebanese-Canadian neurologist and his colleagues were working on “mini-MoCA,” an online exam for anyone to take who was worried about his own cognitive decline. …

Now Nasreddine has changed course. He says growing worries about the validity of test results — and possible liability for errors — have pressed him to require those who administer the test to pay for mandatory certification.

Nasreddine said he has seen testing errors after reviewing hundreds of MoCA exams given by doctors and others who didn’t properly follow a four-page list of directions.

On some tests, scores varied by as much as five points in the same patient over a few weeks, Nasreddine said.

“That is a lot of points out of 30,” he said. “If it’s within the same month, it’s not because the disease changed that quickly.”

Read full, original post: Worries about accuracy of widely used dementia test prompt training requirement

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