["The 5 words": a simple and sensitive test for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease]

Presse Med. 2002 Nov 9;31(36):1696-9.
[Article in French]


Objective: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is under-diagnosed in France. Today only an estimated 50% of patients are identified. Diagnosis of AD is particularly difficult because the amnesic syndrome, characteristic of the disease, is often confused with memory dysfunction that is frequent during the process of aging. The improvement in the diagnostic conditions of AD relies on the availability of a simple and reliable tool for screening memory disorders of organic origin.

Method: The 5-word test studies the recall of a short list, which the physician ensures the patient has registered. Its construction permits the identification of patients exhibiting objective memory disorders. A validation study has been conducted in 86 patients suffering from AD and 126 persons complaining of functional memory disorders.

Results: The study has shown the sensitivity (91%) and specificity (87%) of the 5-word test in identifying patients with AD.

Conclusion: This is a rapid (2 minutes) and simple test that is easy to use in medical practice for the screening of AD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Trail Making Test