Characteristics of the GPCOG, a screening tool for cognitive impairment

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;19(9):870-4. doi: 10.1002/gps.1167.


Background: Early dementia diagnosis is aided by the use of brief screening tests; scores can be biased by patient and informant characteristics such as age, gender and education.

Objective: To assess whether the General Practitioner's Assessment of Cognition (GPCOG), a brief screening tool for detecting cognitive impairment comprising a patient cognitive test and questions to an informant, is biased by patient and informant characteristics.

Design: Sixty-seven general practitioners recruited consecutive patients (with informants). Patients were subsequently assessed by a research psychologist, and DSM-IV diagnoses assigned following a case-conference.

Setting: Primary Care.

Subjects: Two hundred and eighty three home-dwelling individuals, 11.3% of whom were aged 50-74 years with suspected memory problems and the rest aged 75 or more.

Methods: The GPCOG, Cambridge Mental Disorder of the Elderly Examination cognitive scale (CAMCOG), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and the SF-12 Health Survey (SF-12) were administered and demographic data were collected and consensus DSM-IV diagnoses of dementia made. Relationships between patient and informant characteristics and the GPCOG measure were examined using Pearson correlations and linear regression analyses.

Results: There were correlations in GPCOG-patient scores with age, education and depression scores but on regression analysis only age was associated with the GPCOG-patient section. The GPCOG-informant section was free of bias.

Conclusions: The GPCOG has advantages for use in primary care and is free of many biases common in other scales.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales