Comparison of 2 dementia screeners, the Test Your Memory Test and the Mini-Mental State Examination, in a primary care setting

Gerrit van Schalkwyk, Hugo Botha, Soraya Seedat
Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology 2012, 25 (2): 85-8
Dementia is an important cause of morbidity but is often neglected in primary care settings. This relates, in part, to perceived difficulties with diagnosis and the need to focus on more pressing physical complaints. Screening provides a potential first-step solution. Existing screening measures are regarded as either too time consuming or insufficiently sensitive and specific. The Test Your Memory (TYM) questionnaire was recently developed in response to this problem. Its utility as a cognitive screener has not been assessed in primary care settings. In this study, we measured and compared the performance of an adapted English as well as Afrikaans translation of the self-administered TYM to the Mini-Mental State Examination, the current accepted standard screening instrument for dementia, in 100 older primary care patients in South Africa. We found a strong positive correlation of total scores between the measures, with a higher internal consistency for the TYM. The TYM was also easily self-administered. Our results, in conjunction with previous validation findings and diagnostic accuracy for the TYM, suggest that it has clinical utility and potential as a cognitive screener in this context.

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