A subtest of the MMSE as a valid test of episodic memory? Comparison with the Free and Cued Reminding Test

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2009;27(5):429-38. doi: 10.1159/000214632. Epub 2009 Apr 25.


Background/aims: Episodic memory impairment is known to be the core of Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia syndrome and one of the earliest domains to decline. However, episodic memory tests are long and expensive.

Methods: In a sample of the French Three-City Study (n = 1,516), we aimed at validating a subtest of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) specifically measuring episodic memory. We focused on the correlation between 7 MMSE subscores and 4 scores of the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test (FCSRT) evaluating episodic memory. We performed linear regressions and principal component analyses to identify which MMSE subscores were better correlated with the FCSRT scores. Thereafter, we conducted validation analyses on the whole sample (n = 9,077).

Results: We found that subscores for orientation to time and the 3-word recall task were well correlated with FCSRT scores. The summation of these 2 subscores was more strongly associated with dementia and AD than the FCSRT scores and the total MMSE score.

Conclusion: Orientation to time and the 3-word recall task might provide a good measure of episodic memory. Making the evaluation of episodic memory faster and cheaper, this finding can be of direct interest for practitioners and epidemiologists.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Cues
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors