Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Mini-Mental State Exam Misses Memory Problems

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Mini-Mental State Exam Misses Memory Problems

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- The Mini-Mental State Examination, often the first choice of primary care physicians to assess memory in elderly patients, may miss many cases of memory impairment, Amy E. Kane reported in a poster presentation at the Ninth International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders.

The results of her study showed that memory impairment was "quite prevalent" among elderly people cared for by primary care physicians, and that the Logical Memory subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised was a far more reliable gauge of memory impairment.

"It appears that the Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE] is not a sensitive measure of memory impairment in the elderly," said Ms. Kane, a researcher at the Alzheimer's Disease research center of the University of California, San Diego.

Instead, the results support "the use of the Logical Memory subtest as a brief and valid instrument for distinguishing between memory impairment and the memory decline associated with normal aging," she said.

The study included 154 people who were at least 74 years old and had been referred to the research center by their primary care physicians because of complaints of memory loss. …

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