What are the available cognitive impairment screening tools?

Updated: Dec 02, 2020
  • Author: Claudia L Reardon, MD; more...
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Answer

Answer

Available screening tools that are commonly used and have reasonable sensitivity and specificity in primary care populations, along with the specific characteristics of each one, are described in the Table below. Characteristics of more brief screening tools for dementia are available in Mitchell and Malladi’s recent meta-analysis. [8]

Table. Screening Tools (Open Table in a new window)

Test

Average minutes to administer

Cognitive domains assessed

Limitations

Other information

MMSE [10, 11]

10

· Orientation

· Recall

· Attention

· Calculation

· Language

· Constructional praxis

· Age bias

· Education bias

· Not sensitive for mild dementia [12]

· Test is copyrighted and requires fee to use

· Most commonly used and extensively studied cognitive test for dementia in US clinical practice

Mini-Cog (clock drawing task plus recall of 3 words) [13, 14]

2-4

· Recall

· Constructional praxis

· Less ethnic/language factor bias

· Similar sensitivity and specifity as MMSE but quicker to administer

6 Item Screen (3 word recall plus 3 temporal orientation questions) [15]

2

· Orientation

· Recall

 

· More sensitive for mild dementia and faster than MMSE

Short portable mental status questionnaire [16]

2-5

· Orientation

· Recall

· Attention

· Calculation

· Constructional praxis

· Information

· Not sensitive for mild dementia

· Test is copyrighted and requires fee to use

 

SLUMS [17]

7

· Orientation

· Recall

· Attention

· Calculation

· Language

· Constructional praxis

· Fluency

 

· Better sensitivity than MMSE for mild dementia

· Delayed 5 item recall best discriminator · Test available for general use without copyright fee


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