What is the best dementia screening instrument for general practitioners to use?

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 May;14(5):391-400. doi: 10.1097/01.JGP.0000216181.20416.b2.


Objective: The objective of this study was to review existing dementia screening tools with a view to informing and recommending suitable instruments to general practitioners (GPs) based on their performance and practicability for general practice.

Method: A systematic search of pre-MEDLINE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library Database was undertaken. Only available full-text articles about dementia screening instruments written in English or with an English version were included. Articles using a translation of an English language instrument were excluded unless validated in a general practice, community, or population sample.

Results: The General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition (GPCOG), Mini-Cog, and Memory Impairment Screen (MIS) were chosen as most suitable for routine dementia screening in general practice. The GPCOG, Mini-Cog, and MIS were all validated in community, population, or general practice samples, are easy to administer, and have administration times of 5 minutes or less. They also have negative predictive validity and misclassification rates, which do not differ significantly from those of the Mini-Mental Status Examination.

Conclusions: It is recommended that GPs consider using the GPCOG, Mini-Cog, or MIS when screening for cognitive impairment or for case detection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Family Practice* / instrumentation
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Geriatric Psychiatry / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Sensitivity and Specificity