Objectives: To develop a 10-minute cognitive screening tool (Montreal Cognitive Assessment, MoCA) to assist first-line physicians in detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a clinical state that often progresses to dementia.
Design: Validation study.
Setting: A community clinic and an academic center.
Participants: Ninety-four patients meeting MCI clinical criteria supported by psychometric measures, 93 patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) (Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score≥17), and 90 healthy elderly controls (NC).
Measurements: The MoCA and MMSE were administered to all participants, and sensitivity and specificity of both measures were assessed for detection of MCI and mild AD.
Results: Using a cutoff score 26, the MMSE had a sensitivity of 18% to detect MCI, whereas the MoCA detected 90% of MCI subjects. In the mild AD group, the MMSE had a sensitivity of 78%, whereas the MoCA detected 100%. Specificity was excellent for both MMSE and MoCA (100% and 87%, respectively).
Conclusion: MCI as an entity is evolving and somewhat controversial. The MoCA is a brief cognitive screening tool with high sensitivity and specificity for detecting MCI as currently conceptualized in patients performing in the normal range on the MMSE.