Mini-Cog as a screening tool for dementia

Anna Barczak1,2, Beata Hintze3

Affiliation and address for correspondence
Aktualn Neurol 2019, 19 (3), p. 141–144
DOI: 10.15557/AN.2019.0019

Due to the growing number of elderly people, dementing diseases pose a serious diagnostic challenge. This is also due to the fact that, despite the increasing knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases, there are still few specialists in this area. Moreover, specialised dementia centres have a significantly longer waiting period for admission. Although complaints about cognitive disorders, memory problems in particular, are common in the elderly population, actual cognitive problems suggesting dementia are found in only a small proportion of patients. Therefore, proper diagnosis should always involve objectification of patient’ complaints. There are many screening tools for the assessment of cognitive functions, but most of them require time and, sometimes, a worksheet, and the method of examination and assessment is not always simple. This is a common reason for a physician to fail to perform the initial assessment. It is not a rare situation that the diagnosis and treatment of dementia are based non complaints alone, and thus implemented in individuals without cognitive impairment. Another problem is referring healthy elderly patients to specialised facilities, which can be a traumatic experience. The article discusses the methodology for the evaluation and interpretation of the Mini-Cog score – a tool allowing for a quick decision on extended diagnosis of dementia. The results of the scale may be insufficient to establish a nosological diagnosis, but they usually allow for a preliminary verification of the presence of evident cognitive disorders.

cognitive impairment, dementia, diagnosis, screening methods

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