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Which Screening Tool Is Best When You Suspect Alzheimer Disease?

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - Of the screening tools available to help identify early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which is best? 1

In a presentation at the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress in Las Vegas, Kevin Gray, MD, director of the Geriatric Neuropsychiatry Clinic, Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System, Dallas, gave a withering critique of the widely used Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and instead recommended simple and quickly administered tests that he says are more sensitive and specific.

“The MMSE must die” commented Gray, who said the “antique” screen is of limited diagnostic utility in most clinical settings. It takes at least 10 minutes to administer and scoring is strongly influenced by the patient’s age and education level. Moreover, it is insensitive for mild cognitive impairments or mild AD.2

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