Mini-mental state examination is sensitive to brain atrophy in Alzheimer's disease

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2009;28(3):252-8. doi: 10.1159/000241878. Epub 2009 Sep 25.


Background/aims: Screening instruments such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) are useful for the early identification of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We tested whether macrostructural differences in brain volume are related to the MMSE.

Methods: The MMSE was related to cortical thickness and the volume of 19 brain structures in 96 patients with mild to moderate AD. In addition, the patients were compared to 93 healthy elderly controls.

Results: The MMSE was related to the volume of the total brain, cerebral cortex, accumbens, cerebral white matter, inferior lateral ventricles and hippocampus. Positive correlations with cortical thickness were found for 41% of the brain surface, and 58% of this area was significantly thinner in AD.

Conclusion: The MMSE is sensitive to macrostructural brain atrophy in AD, but also to morphometric variation not specifically related to AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / pathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests*