Saturday, March 28, 2015

MMSE: Mini–mental state examination

The mini–mental state examination (MMSE) or Folstein test is a sensitive, valid and reliable 30-point questionnaire that is used extensively in clinical and research settings to measure cognitive impairment. It is commonly used in medicine and allied health to screen for dementia. It is also used to estimate the severity and progression of cognitive impairment and to follow the course of cognitive changes in an individual over time; thus making it an effective way to document an individual's response to treatment. The MMSE's purpose has been, not on its own, intended to provide a diagnosis for any particular nosological entity.

It was originally introduced by Folstein et al. in 1975, in order to differentiate organic from functional psychiatric patients  but is very similar to, or even directly incorporates, tests which were in use previous to its publication.This test is not a mental status examination. The standard MMSE form which is currently published by Psychological Assessment Resources is based on its original 1975 conceptualization, with minor subsequent modifications by the authors.


1) Administration of the test takes between 5–10 minutes and examines functions including registration, attention and calculation, recall, language, ability to follow simple commands and orientation.

2) No specialized equipment or training for administration is required.

3) Has both validity and reliability for the diagnosis and longitudinal assessment of Alzheimer's Disease.

4) Short administration period and ease of use, it is useful for cognitive assessment in the clinician's office space or at the bedside.


1) Affected by demographic factors; age and education exert the greatest effect.

2) Lack of sensitivity to mild cognitive impairment and its failure to adequately discriminate patients with mild Alzheimer's Disease from normal patients.

3) Criticised regarding its insensitivity to progressive changes occurring with severe Alzheimer's Disease.

4) As the content of the MMSE is highly verbal, lacking sufficient items to adequately measure visuospatial and/or constructional praxis.

Other tests are also used, such as the Hodkinson abbreviated mental test score (1972, geriatrics, or the General Practitioner Assessment Of Cognition as well as longer formal tests for deeper analysis of specific deficits.

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