Defining optimal cutoff scores for cognitive impairment using Movement Disorder Society Task Force criteria for mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2013 Dec;28(14):1972-9. doi: 10.1002/mds.25655. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


The recently proposed Movement Disorder Society (MDS) Task Force diagnostic criteria for mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease (PD-MCI) represent a first step toward a uniform definition of PD-MCI across multiple clinical and research settings. However, several questions regarding specific criteria remain unanswered, including optimal cutoff scores by which to define impairment on neuropsychological tests. Seventy-six non-demented PD patients underwent comprehensive neuropsychological assessment and were classified as PD-MCI or PD with normal cognition (PD-NC). The concordance of PD-MCI diagnosis by MDS Task Force Level II criteria (comprehensive assessment), using a range of standard deviation (SD) cutoff scores, was compared with our consensus diagnosis of PD-MCI or PD-NC. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were examined for each cutoff score. PD-MCI subtype classification and distribution of cognitive domains impaired were evaluated. Concordance for PD-MCI diagnosis was greatest for defining impairment on neuropsychological tests using a 2 SD cutoff score below appropriate norms. This cutoff also provided the best discriminatory properties for separating PD-MCI from PD-NC compared with other cutoff scores. With the MDS PD-MCI criteria, multiple domain impairment was more frequent than single domain impairment, with predominant executive function, memory, and visuospatial function deficits. Application of the MDS Task Force PD-MCI Level II diagnostic criteria demonstrates good sensitivity and specificity at a 2 SD cutoff score. The predominance of multiple domain impairment in PD-MCI with the Level II criteria suggests not only influences of testing abnormality requirements, but also the widespread nature of cognitive deficits within PD-MCI.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; executive function; memory; mild cognitive impairment; neuropsychological tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / classification
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests* / standards
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Severity of Illness Index