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Neuropsychological strategies for detecting early dementia



As new and more effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD) emerge, the development of efficient screening strategies in educationally and racially diverse primary care settings has increased in importance. A set of candidate screening tests and an independent diagnostic assessment were administered to a sample of 318 patients treated at a geriatric primary care center. Fifty-six subjects met criteria for dementia. Exploratory analysis led to the development of three two-stage screening strategies that differed in the composition of the first stage or Rapid Dementia Screen, which is applied to all patients over the age of 65. The second stage, applied to those patients who screen positively for dementia, is accomplished with the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test to detect memory impairment. Using clinical diagnosis as a gold standard, the strategies had high sensitivity and specificity for identifying dementia and performed better for identifying AD than non-AD dementias. Sensitivity and specificity did not differ by race or education. The strategies provide an efficient approach to screening for early dementia. (JINS, 2008, 14, 130–142.)

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Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Ellen Grober, Department of Neurology, Montefiore Medical Center, 111 East 210th Street, Bronx, New York 10467, USA. E-mail:


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