Validation of a 6 item cognitive impairment test with a view to primary care usage

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 1999 Nov;14(11):936-40.


Objective: To validate the 6 Item Cognitive Impairment Test (6CIT) against the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) with a view to usage as a screening tool.

Design: Three groups with varying levels of dementia were tested using the MMSE, 6CIT and Global Deterioration Scale (GDS).

Setting: Testing was carried out within Wiltshire, both in the community and outpatients.

Subjects: Patients were selected from a hospital database of dementia patients and were stratified into two groups according to GDS; a control group was also tested.

Results: Two hundred and eighty-seven patients were tested: 135 controls (GDS 1-2), 70 with mild dementia (GDS 3-5) and 82 with more severe dementia (GDS 6-7). The 6CIT and MMSE were found to correlate well, r(2)=-0.911 (p<0.01), when all groups were analysed. Correlation falls to r(2)=-0.754 (p<0.01) in the mild dementia group. In the GDS 3-5 group, the MMSE has a sensitivity and specificity of 51.43% and 100% respectively (cutoff 23/24). The 6CIT gives a sensitivity and specificity of 78.57% and 100% (cutoff 7/8).

Conclusion: The 6CIT is a brief and simple test of cognition, which correlates well with the MMSE but outperforms it in milder dementia. The MMSE is of little value as a screening test for dementia.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results