New research: completion of cognitive screening tests after stroke

Published: Thursday 25 August 2016

Cognitive assessments used in clinical practice measure a patient's cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills.

A new study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry suggests that even relatively brief screening tools of cognitive assessment after stroke are associated with substantial incompletion for patients.

The researchers recruited 51 stroke patients with impaired cognitive ability to complete three different types of cognitive assessment screening test:

  • Folstein's mini-mental state examination (MMSE)
  • Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA)
  • Addenbrooke's cognitive examination (ACE-III)

Their key findings were:

  • Feasibility of completion of cognitive screening tests should not be assumed.  In the stroke population studied, most participants needed assistance to complete tests and even “short” assessments had substantial rates of non-completion.
  • Where cognitive tests with many test items are only partially compete, the method used to account for the missing scores will impact on the diagnostic properties of the test.
  • Clinicians and researchers need to have explicit processess for dealing with partial test completion. The researchers recommend a method that makes greatest use of the available data.

This study was funded by a research endowments grant from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Principal Investigator, Dr Terry Quinn is supported by a joint Stroke Association/Chief Scientist Office Senior Clinical Lectureship.

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