As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: July 23, 2012
by Jennifer for Dementia Today:
The Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) is a brief, structured test of mental status that takes about 10 minutes to complete. Introduced by Marshall Folstein and others in 1975, the MMSE tests global cognitive function, with items assessing orientation, word recall, attention and calculation, language abilities, and visuospatial ability.
To assess orientation to time, for example, which accounts for 5 of the 30 points, the person is asked to state the year, season, date, day and month. Visuospatial ability accounts for one point and is assessed with a single item, namely the copying of 2 intersecting pentagons.
Scores on the MMSE range from 0 to 30, with scores of 25 or higher being traditionally considered normal. Scores less than 10 generally indicate severe impairment, while scores between 10 and 19 indicate moderate dementia. People with mild Alzheimer’s disease tend to score in the 19 to 24 range.
However, scores may need to be adjusted or interpreted differently to account for a person’s age, education, and race/ethnicity. Scores decline with advancing age and increase with higher educational level. It’s possible to achieve a very high score but still have significant cognitive deficits, especially in areas such as executive functioning that the MMSE is not designed to test for.
Usefulness of the MMSE
There are two primary uses of the MMSE. First, it is a widely used, validated, and reliable method of screening for Alzheimer’s disease. However, as a screening test it is not meant to substitute for a thorough diagnostic work-up. Sensitivity and specificity of the MMSE, key properties of every screening test, are reasonably good. Sensitivity refers to the test’s accuracy in identifying individuals with the disease (i.e., persons with Alzheimer’s test as positive). Specificity refers to the test’s effectiveness in identifying people who do not have the disease (i.e., persons without the disease test as negative).
The second important use of the MMSE is as a means of following the course of cognitive changes in an individual over time. This way a person’s response to treatment may be documented and this can help in guiding future treatment. Typically, an Alzheimer’s patient’s MMSE score declines by 3-4 points per year without treatment.
Overall Advantages and Disadvantages of the MMSE
In addition to the advantages already mentioned, the MMSE has been translated into many languages and has even been adapted for use by visually-impaired persons. Disadvantages include the need to adjust scores for age, education and ethnicity, as well as potential copyright issues (while originally the MMSE was widely distributed for free, the current official version must be ordered through the copyright owner since 2001, Psychological Assessment Resources: PAR).
You can download a PDF copy here:
For young adults with autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (AD), molecular markers can identify changes associated with the disease before clinical onset, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in JAMA Neurology. Yakeel T. Quiroz, Ph.D., from Massachusetts...
Foods can determine whether someone will suffer from dementia in later years, according to researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot. A large-scale international study that...
Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is not an easy task. Caregiving is a long-term endeavour that is mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially demanding, and is a role that...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.