A low, 'normal' score on the Mini-Mental State Examination predicts development of dementia after three years

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1995 Jun;43(6):656-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1995.tb07201.x.


Objectives: To study whether a low, "normal" sumscore (i.e., 24 or higher) on the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) near the cutpoint usually employed for identifying persons with cognitive impairment predicts later development of dementia.

Design: A prospective study of a random sample of nondemented persons aged 75 years and older, according to DSM-III criteria, with follow-ups after 3 and 6 years.

Participants: The subjects were 215 persons living at home, mean age 81 years, 81% women. Their mean MMSE sumscore at the start of the study (T0) was 27.9 (range 24-30).

Main results: A low MMSE sumscore at T0 was identified as a statistically strongly significant predictor of dementia after 3 years (P < .001), when more than 40% of those with a sumscore of 24 or 25 at T0 had become demented. A similar, although weaker and statistically nonsignificant, trend was observed for the risk after 6 years in relation to MMSE scoring at baseline.

Conclusion: Persons with a sumscore of 24 or 25 and classified as not suffering from dementia according to the DSM-III criteria are at high risk of developing dementia within 3 years.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forecasting
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity