Screening for dementia by memory testing

Neurology. 1988 Jun;38(6):900-3. doi: 10.1212/wnl.38.6.900.


Enhanced cued recall provides a simple and clinically useful memory test for identifying dementia in the elderly. Because this test induces semantic processing and coordinates encoding and retrieval for maximum recall, genuine memory deficits due to impairment of specific memory processes can be distinguished from apparent memory deficits due to use of inefficient strategies or impairment of other cognitive processes. Since genuine memory deficits in the elderly are usually associated with dementia, their identification is highly predictive of clinical dementia. The present study validates the use of enhanced cued recall as a screening test for dementia in 70 aged subjects. All but one person with a pure amnesia were correctly classified. Enhanced cued recall correctly classified 97% of the 120 subjects in this and the previous study. Enhanced cued recall shows learning not revealed by free recall, providing more accurate measurement of memory, and distinguishes demented from nondemented elderly more accurately than either free recall or recognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Neuropsychological Tests*