Mini Mental Status Exam score of 24

Figure 1

OBJECTIVES: To study whether a low, “normal” sumscore (i.e., 24 or higher) on the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) near the cutpoint usually employed for identifying persons with cognitive impairment predicts later development of dementia.

DESIGN: A prospective study of a random sample of nondemented persons aged 75 years and older, according to DSM-III criteria, with follow-ups after 3 and 6 years.

PARTICIPANTS: The subjects were 215 persons living at home, mean age 81 years, 81% women. Their mean MMSE sumscore at the start of the study (T0) was 27.9 (range 24–30).

MAIN RESULTS: A low MMSE sumscore at T0 was identified as a statistically strongly significant predictor of dementia after 3 years ( < .001), when more than 40% of those with a sumscore of 24 or 25 at T0 had become demented. A similar, although weaker and statistically nonsignificant, trend was observed for the risk after 6 years in relation to MMSE scoring at baseline.

CONCLUSION: Persons with a sumscore of 24 or 25 and classified as not suffering from dementia according to the DSM-III criteria are at high risk of developing dementia within 3 years.

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Q&A

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Which mini-mental state exam items can be used to screen for delirium and cognitive impairment?

Cognitive impairment is common in palliative care patients, but it is frequently undetected. The clinical consequence is that psychiatric states such as delirium, which often present with cognitive impairment, are inadequately treated. A short and simple questionnaire for screening of cognitive impairment is required for these patients, in order to proceed with more advanced testing if necessary. In this study, we explored the results from two samples of patients (n=290 and n=217) who had completed the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Cases of cognitive impairment are considered i…

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