Simplifying detection of cognitive impairment: comparison of the Mini-Cog and Mini-Mental State Examination in a multiethnic sample

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 May;53(5):871-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.53269.x.


Objectives: To compare detection of cognitive impairment using the Mini-Cog and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and to identify sociodemographic variables that influence detection in an ethnoculturally diverse sample.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: A registry of the University of Washington Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Satellite.

Participants: A heterogeneous community sample (n=371) of predominantly ethnic minority elderly assessed using a standardized research protocol, 231 of whom met criteria for dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Measurements: Demographic data, a standardized research protocol for cognitive assessment and dementia diagnosis, MMSE, and Mini-Cog.

Results: Both screens effectively detected cognitive impairment, the Mini-Cog slightly better than the MMSE (P<.01). Overall accuracy of classification was 83% for the Mini-Cog and 81% for the MMSE. The Mini-Cog was superior in recognizing patients with Alzheimer-type dementias (P=.05). Low education negatively affected detection using the MMSE (P<.001), whereas education did not affect the Mini-Cog, and low literacy minimally affected it.

Conclusion: The Mini-Cog detects clinically significant cognitive impairment as well as or better than the MMSE in multiethnic elderly individuals, is easier to administer to non-English speakers, and is less biased by low education and literacy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Mental Status Schedule*