Validation in French of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment 5-Minute, a brief cognitive screening test for phone administration

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2021 Oct;177(8):972-979. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2020.09.002. Epub 2021 Jan 19.


Background: The prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia is high and steadily increasing. Early detection of cognitive decline is crucial since some interventions can reduce the risk of progression to dementia. However, there is a lack of manageable scales for assessing cognitive functions outside specialized consultations. Recently, the MoCA-5min, a short version of the Montreal Cognitive assessment (MoCA), phone-administered, was validated for screening for vascular cognitive impairment. The aim of the present study was to validate the MoCA-5min in French in diverse clinical populations.

Methods: The Cantonese version of the MoCA-5min was adapted for French language. Healthy volunteers and patients with possible or established cognitive impairment (Alzheimer's disease or related disorders, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, type-2 diabetes) participated in the study. The original MoCA and the MoCA-5min were administered, by phone, with a 30-day interval. Alternate forms were used to reduce learning effects.

Results: The scores of the original MoCA and MoCA-5min correlated significantly (Spearman rho=0.751, P<0.0001, 95% confidence interval 0.657 to 0.819). Internal consistency was good (Cronbach alpha=0.795). The area under the ROC curve was 0.870 and the optimal cut-off value for separating patients with and without cognitive impairment with the MoCA-5min was≤27 with 87.32% sensitivity and 76.09% specificity. Interrater and test-retest reliability were adequate.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the French version of the MoCA-5min is a valid and reliable scale for detecting cognitive impairment in different clinical populations. It is administrable by phone and thus suitable for remote assessment as well as for large-scale screening and epidemiological studies.

Keywords: Cognition; Dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; MoCA; Remote administration; Screening test.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity