Assessing Alzheimer severity with a global clinical scale

Int Psychogeriatr. 1992 Summer;4(1):55-74. doi: 10.1017/s1041610292000905.


Diagnosis of dementia needs to be complemented by precise determination of disease severity across the broad spectrum of disease progression. The Mini-Mental State Exam (MMS), the Activities-of-Daily-Living assessment (ADL) and the Clinical Dementia Rating scale (CDR) were modified for direct comparability and administered to 112 outpatients and 45 nursing home residents with a range of dementia severity from mild to profound. The scales showed the highest correlations for the probable Alzheimer's disease patient group (62) (Global Assessment of Dementia; GAD vs. ADL: r = 0.91; Extended Mini-Mental Assessment; EMA vs. GAD: r = 0.91; ADL vs. EMA: r = 0.86). For these patients, scores on the individual scales tended to be similar. Disparity among the three scores for individual cases was associated with the presence of comorbidities. The high correlations and correspondence among these scales demonstrate their reliability, validity, and utility in the assessment of dementia severity. The use of an average of these measures, with their increased precision, may give a more accurate indication of dementia severity over a broader range of impairment.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Illinois / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule / standards*
  • Nursing Homes
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index*