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Article
September 1994

Discrimination Between Stages of Alzheimer's Disease With Subsets of Mini-Mental State Examination Items: An Analysis of Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease Data

Author Affiliations

From the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development (Dr Fillenbaum), the Biometry and Medical Informatics Division, Community and Family Medicine (Dr Wilkinson), the Division of Medical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry and Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (Dr Welsh), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; and the Department of Psychiatry, Mt Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY (Dr Mohs).

Arch Neurol. 1994;51(9):916-921. doi:10.1001/archneur.1994.00540210088017
Abstract

Objective:  To identify minimal sets of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) items that can distinguish normal control subjects from patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD), patients with mild from those with moderate AD, and those with moderate from those with severe AD.

Design:  Two randomly selected equivalent half samples. Results of logistic regression analysis from data from the first half of the sample were confirmed by receiver operating characteristic curves on the second half.

Setting:  Memory disorders clinics at major medical centers in the United States affiliated with the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD).

Participants:  White, normal control subjects (n=412) and patients with AD (n=621) who met CERAD criteria; nonwhite subjects (n=165) and persons with missing data (n=27) were excluded.

Main Outcome Measures:  Three four-item sets of MMSE items that discriminate, respectively, (1) normal controls from patients with mild AD, (2) patients with mild from those with moderate AD, and (3) patients with moderate from those with severe AD.

Results:  The MMSE items discriminating normal controls from patients with mild AD were day, date, recall of apple, and recall of penny; those discriminating patients with mild from those with moderate AD were month, city, spelling world backward, and county; and those discriminating patients with moderate from those with severe AD were floor of building, repeating the word table, naming watch, and folding paper in half. Performance on the first two four-item sets was comparable with that of the full MMSE; the third set distinguished patients with moderate from those with severe AD better than chance.

Conclusions:  A minimum set of MMSE items can effectively discriminate normal controls from patients with mild AD and between successive levels of severity of AD. Data apply only to white patients with AD. Performance in minorities, more heterogeneous groups, or normal subjects with questionable cognitive status has not been assessed.

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