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Postgrad Med. 2009 Mar;121(2):177-85. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2009.03.1990.

Computer assessment of mild cognitive impairment.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Many older individuals experience cognitive decline with aging. The causes of cognitive dysfunction range from the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease (AD) to treatable causes of dysfunction and the normal mild forgetfulness described by many older individuals. Even mild cognitive dysfunction can impact medication adherence, impair decision making, and affect the ability to drive or work. However, primary care physicians do not routinely screen for cognitive difficulties and many older patients do not report cognitive problems. Identifying cognitive impairment at an office visit would permit earlier referral for diagnostic work-up and treatment. The Computer Assessment of Mild Cognitive Impairment (CAMCI) is a self-administered, user-friendly computer test that scores automatically and can be completed independently in a quiet space, such as a doctor's examination room. The goal of this study was to compare the sensitivity and specificity of the CAMCI and the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) to identify mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in 524 nondemented individuals > 60 years old who completed a comprehensive neuropsychological and clinical assessment together with the CAMCI and MMSE. We hypothesized that the CAMCI would exhibit good sensitivity and specificity and would be superior compared with the MMSE in these measures. The results indicated that the MMSE was relatively insensitive to MCI. In contrast, the CAMCI was highly sensitive (86%) and specific (94%) for the identification of MCI in a population of community-dwelling nondemented elderly individuals.

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