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February 1, 1985

Neuropsychologic Detection of Abnormal Mental Decline in Older Persons

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Behavioral Neurology, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City.

JAMA. 1985;253(5):670-674. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350290076029

We conducted comprehensive neuropsychologic assessment in normal 60- to 88-year-old persons and in patients with dementia of various causes, matched for age and sex. Patients with dementia performed significantly poorer on tests of short-term memory, temporal orientation, visual perception, and language. Further data analysis, including multivariate classification procedures, identified a combination of three tests (Visual Retention, Controlled Oral Word Association, and Temporal Orientation) that in a cross-validation study correctly classified 89% of cases with a high degree of probability. Only 6.5% of cases were misclassified, while 4.5% were in a questionable, borderline category. The battery constituted by these three discriminating tests provides a brief, easily administered neuropsychologic screening instrument that may be used by a variety of health professionals for the detection of abnormal mental decline in older persons.

(JAMA 1985;253:670-674)