Is 11-item dementia test appropriate for GPs?

A formal diagnosis of dementia can be quite complex, so there is a need to recognise patients who require further assessment. The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is an 11-item test which helps to identify people with poor cognitive function.

A Cochrane review assessed 48 community and primary care studies of the MMSE. All the participants were >65 and most had no symptoms of dementia. The MMSE has a maximum score of 30 with lower scores suggesting cognitive impairment. Its accuracy was assessed at different cut points.