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Keywords:

  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • dementia;
  • sensitivity;
  • specificity;
  • diagnosis;
  • primary care

Objectives

To develop and validate a picture-based memory impairment screen (PMIS) for the detection of dementia.

Design

Cross-sectional.

Setting

Outpatient clinics, Baby Memorial Hospital, Kozhikode city in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Participants

Three hundred four community-residing adults aged 55 to 94 with a mean education level of 8 years; 65 were diagnosed with dementia.

Measurements

PMIS: a culture-fair picture-based cognitive screen designed to be administered by nonspecialists. Diagnostic accuracy estimates (sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive power) of PMIS cut-scores in detecting dementia (range 0–8).

Results

PMIS scores were worse in participants with dementia (1.5) than in controls (7.7, P < .001). At the optimal cut-score of 5, PMIS had a sensitivity of 95.4% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 90.3–100.0%) and a specificity of 99.2% (95% CI = 98.0–100.0%) for detecting dementia. In the 167 participants with <10 years of education, PMIS scores of five or less had a sensitivity of 97.8% (95% CI = 93.6–100.0%) and specificity of 99.2% (95% CI = 97.6–100.0%). The PMIS had better specificity than the Mini-Mental State Examination in detecting dementia, especially in older adults with low education.

Conclusion

The PMIS is a brief and reliable screen for dementia in elderly populations with variable literacy rates.