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Psychol Med. 1982 May;12(2):397-408.

Limits of the 'Mini-Mental State' as a screening test for dementia and delirium among hospital patients.


With a psychiatrist's standardized clinical diagnosis as the criterion, the 'Mini-Mental State' Examination (MMSE) was 87% sensitive and 82% specific in detecting dementia and delirium among hospital patients on a general medical ward. The false positive ratio was 39% and the false negative ratio was 5%. All false positives had less than 9 years of education; many were 60 years of age or older. Performance on specific MMSE items was related to education or age. These findings confirm the MMSE's value as a screen instrument for dementia and delirium when later, more intensive diagnostic enquiry is possible; they reinforce earlier suggestions that the MMSE alone cannot yield a diagnosis for these conditions.

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