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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 May;65(5):1067-1072. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14779. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

Multicenter Validation of an MMSE-MoCA Conversion Table.

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Clinique Interdisciplinaire de Mémoire, Département des Sciences Neurologiques du CHU de Québec, and Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Québec, Canada.
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.
Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit/Memory Clinic, McGill Centre for Studies in Aging, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Neuro Rive-Sud/CEDRA: Centre Diagnostique et Recherche sur la Maladie d'Alzheimer, McGill University and Sherbrooke University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada.



Accumulating evidence points to the superiority of the MoCA over the MMSE as a cognitive screening tool. To facilitate the transition from the MMSE to the MoCA in clinical and research settings, authors have developed MMSE-MoCA conversion tables. However, it is unknown whether a conversion table generated from Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients would apply to patients with other dementia subtypes like vascular dementia or frontotemporal dementia. Furthermore, the reliability and accuracy of MMSE-MoCA conversion tables has not been properly evaluated.


We retrospectively examined the MMSE-MoCA relationship in a large multicenter sample gathered from 3 Memory Clinics in Quebec, Canada (1492 patients). We produced an MMSE-MoCA conversion table using the equi-percentile method with log-linear smoothing. We then cross-validated our conversion table with the ADNI dataset (1202 patients) and evaluated its accuracy for future predictions.


The MMSE-MoCA conversion table is consistent with previously published tables and has an intra-class correlation of 0.633 with the ADNI sample. However, we found that the MMSE-MoCA relationship is significantly modified by diagnosis (P < .01), with dementia subtypes associated with a dysexecutive syndrome showing a trend towards higher MMSE than other dementia syndromes for a given MoCA score. The large width of 95% confidence interval (CI) for a new prediction suggests questionable reliability for clinical use.


In this study, we validated a conversion table between MMSE and MoCA using a large multicenter sample. Our results suggest caution in interpreting the tables in heterogeneous clinical populations, as the MMSE-MoCA relationship may be different across dementia subtypes.


MMSE ; Cognitive screening; Conversion; MoCA

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