Reasons for Mental State Examination

MENTAL STATUS EXAMINATION

Objective - The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which causes other than dementia contribute to poor performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Design - Cross-sectional population-based study. Setting - Municipality of Lieto, Finland. Subjects - The study population consisted of all individuals residing in Lieto and born in or before 1926. A total of 1196 individuals, 93% of those eligible, participated. Main outcome measures - The MMSE was implemented following interviews and clinical examinations. Whenever an individual was unable to complete any individual item on the MMSE, the nurse recorded causes and assessed whether poor performance was mainly caused by dementia or other reasons. Results - Poor test performance due to causes other than dementia was recorded in 122 (10.2%) individuals (4% of those in the 64?74 years group, 15% in the 75?84 years group and 42% in the group of 85 years of age or older). The most common causes were poor vision and hearing, deficient schooling and consequences of stroke. Conclusion ? Ten percent of the elderly population had symptoms contributing to poor performance on the MMSE. Physicians should therefore consider and record co-morbidity in the testing situation, especially in very old individuals.

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