Do Long Tests Yield a More Accurate Diagnosis of Dementia Than Short Tests?: A Comparison of 5 Neuropsychological Tests Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: To provide comparative evidence for a valid and practical measure of mental-status functioning that could be used in dementia clinics. Design: Five mental-status neuropsychological tools for dementia screening were administered to patients in a memory disorder clinic. These included the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Dementia Rating Scale, the 6-item derivative of the Orientation-Memory-Concentration Test, a short Mental Status Questionnaire, and a composite tool we labeled the Ottawa Mental Status Examination, which assessed orientation, memory, attention, language, and visual-constructive functioning. The tools were compared using various criteria, including the statistical factors of sensitivity and reliability; effects of gender, native language, and language of testing; the utility of these tests for the differential diagnosis of Alzheimer-type and vascular dementia; and sensitivity to cognitive decline in the entire sample and among patients with severe dementia. Results: All of the tests were highly intercorrelated, suggesting that they are interchangeable. Conclusion: The comparisons along the various criteria indicate that if the objective is to have a general index of dementia of the Alzheimer type, short tests are at least as good and sometimes better than the longer tests.

publication date

  • January 1, 1996