Memory Impairment Screen

Purpose:
Screening test for Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.

Rationale:
This screen addresses the problem with many delayed recall memory screens in that they have a high rate of false negative and false positive errors. Increasing the number of items to recall increases the time to administer the test and makes it less useful for screening. Therefore the authors created a four item screen. Additionally this screen uses cuing to
ensure attention, induce semantic processing, optimize encoding specificity, increase retrieval, and improve discrimination.

The Test:
Subjects are given a piece of paper with four items, for example:

Brown
Happiness
Tulip
Eye Dropper

They are then asked to read them and given a category cue for each item, for example; Q: Which of these is a medical device? A: Eye dropper.

They are told they will need to remember the items in 2-3 minutes.

They get 2 points for each item remembered without a cue and 1 point for each item remembered with a cue.

Validation:
A cut-score of 4 provided a sensitivity (0.80), specificity (0.96).

References:
Buschke H, Kuslansky G, Katz M, et al. Screening for dementia with the memory impairment screen. Neurology 1999;52:231-8.

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