Brief Memory and Executive Test: evaluation of a new screening test for cognitive impairment due to small vessel disease

Age Ageing. 2012 Mar;41(2):212-8. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afr172. Epub 2012 Jan 19.


Background: cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) is the most common cause of vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). Despite this, there is a paucity of rapid simple screening tools to identify cognitive impairment in SVD and differentiate it from other common dementia types.

Objective: to validate a new screening test for cognitive impairment in SVD, the Brief Memory and Executive Test (BMET) battery, and examine its ability to detect SVD and differentiate it from Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Subjects: 45 patients with SVD, 27 patients with AD and 80 normal controls.

Methods: the BMET includes brief tests of executive functioning and processing speed, with comparative tests of memory and orientation. Group discrimination was calculated using discriminant function analysis.

Results: the BMET took an average of 10 min to administer. It showed high sensitivity (91%) and specificity (85%) in differentiating SVD patients with cognitive impairment from AD patients. As a comparison the mini-mental state examination had lower sensitivity (63%) and specificity (62%).

Conclusions: the BMET is a simple and quick to administer clinical tool for the detection of VCI in SVD and its differentiation from AD impairment. Further multicentre studies are required to evaluate and compare it with other existing screening tests.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Small Vessel Diseases / complications*
  • Cerebral Small Vessel Diseases / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition*
  • Dementia, Vascular / diagnosis*
  • Dementia, Vascular / etiology
  • Dementia, Vascular / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Executive Function*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity