The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE)

The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) is the most commonly used test for complaints of problems with memory or other mental abilities. It can be used by clinicians to help diagnose dementia and to help assess its progression and severity. It consists of a series of questions and tests, each of which scores points if answered correctly. The MMSE tests a number of different mental abilities, including a person's memory, attention and language.

MMSE is only one part of assessment for dementia. Clinicians will consider a person's MMSE score alongside their history, symptoms, a physical exam and the results of other tests, possibly including brain scans.

For more information see factsheet 426, Assessment and diagnosis.

The MMSE can also be used to assess changes in a person who has already been diagnosed with dementia. It can help to give an indication of how severe a person's symptoms are and how quickly their dementia is progressing. Again, results should be considered alongside other measures of how the person is coping together with clinical judgement.

For more information see factsheet 458, Progression of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

For more about other tests see Assessing cognition in older people: a practical toolkit for health professionals.

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