Diagnostic accuracy of the MMSE in detecting probable and possible alzheimer's disease in ethnically diverse highly educated individuals: An analysis of the NACC database

Cynthia C. Spering, Valerie Hobson, John A. Lucas, Chloe V. Menon, James R. Hall, Sid E. O'Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. To validate and extend the findings of a raised cut score of O'Bryant and colleagues (O'Bryant SE, Humphreys JD, Smith GE, et al. Detecting dementia with the mini-mental state examination in highly educated individuals. Arch Neurol. 2008;65(7):963-967.) for the Mini-Mental State Examination in detecting cognitive dysfunction in a bilingual sample of highly educated ethnically diverse individuals. Methods. Archival data were reviewed from participants enrolled in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center minimum data set. Data on 7,093 individuals with 16 or more years of education were analyzed, including 2,337 cases with probable and possible Alzheimer's disease, 1,418 mild cognitive impairment patients, and 3,088 nondemented controls. Ethnic composition was characterized as follows: 6,296 Caucasians, 581 African Americans, 4 American Indians or Alaska natives, 2 native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders, 149 Asians, 43 " Other, " and 18 of unknown origin. Results. Diagnostic accuracy estimates (sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratio) of Mini-Mental State Examination cut scores in detecting probable and possible Alzheimer's disease were examined. A standard Mini-Mental State Examination cut score of 24 (≤ 23) yielded a sensitivity of 0.58 and a specificity of 0.98 in detecting probable and possible Alzheimer's disease across ethnicities. A cut score of 27 (≤ 26) resulted in an improved balance of sensitivity and specificity (0.79 and 0.90, respectively). In the cognitively impaired group (mild cognitive impairment and probable and possible Alzheimer's disease), the standard cut score yielded a sensitivity of 0.38 and a specificity of 1.00 while raising the cut score to 27 resulted in an improved balance of 0.59 and 0.96 of sensitivity and specificity, respectively. Conclusions. These findings cross-validate our previous work and extend them to an ethnically diverse cohort. A higher cut score is needed to maximize diagnostic accuracy of the Mini-Mental State Examination in individuals with college degrees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-896
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume67 A
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Dementia diagnosis
  • Ethnicity
  • Language
  • Mini-Mental State Examination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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