Screening for Dementia in Primary Care: A Comparison of the GPCOG and the MMSE

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2016;42(5-6):323-330. doi: 10.1159/000450992. Epub 2016 Nov 4.


Background/aims: The General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition (GPCOG) is a brief cognitive test. This study compared the GPCOG to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the most widely used test, in terms of their ability to detect likely dementia in primary care.

Methods: General practitioners across three states in Australia recruited 2,028 elderly patients from the community. A research nurse administered the GPCOG and the MMSE, as well as the Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly Cognitive Scale-Revised that we used to define likely dementia.

Results: Overall, the GPCOG and the MMSE were similarly effective at detecting likely dementia. The GPCOG, however, had a higher sensitivity than the MMSE when using published cutpoints.

Conclusion: The GPCOG is an effective screening tool for dementia in primary care. It appears to be a viable alternative to the MMSE, whilst also requiring less time to administer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Female
  • General Practitioners
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Primary Health Care*