Background: Aphasia, one of the core symptoms of cortical dementia, is routinely evaluated using graded naming tests like the Boston Naming Test (BNT). However, the application of this 60-item test is time-consuming and shortened versions have been devised for screening. The hypothesis of this research is that a specifically designed shortened version of the BNT could replace the original 60-item BNT as part of a mini-battery for screening for dementia. The objective of this study was to design a short version of the BNT for a rural population in Galicia (Spain).
Methods: A clinic group of 102 patients including 43 with dementia was recruited along with 78 healthy volunteers. The clinic and control groups were scored on the Spanish version of the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE) and BNT. In addition, the clinic group was tested with standard neuropsychological instruments and underwent brain investigations and routine neurological examination. BNT items with specificity and sensitivity above 0.5 were selected to compose a short battery of 11 pictures named BNTOu11. ANOVA and mean comparisons were made for MMSE and BNT versions. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves and internal consistency were calculated.
Results: Areas under ROC curves (AUC) did not show statistically significant differences; therefore BNTOu11's AUC (0.814) was similar to the 60-item BNT versions (0.785 and 0.779), to the short versions from Argentina (0.772) and Andalusia (0.799) and to the Spanish MMSE (0.866). BNTOu11 had higher internal consistency than the other short versions.
Conclusions: BNTOu11 is a useful and time-saving method as part of a battery for screening for dementia in a psychogeriatric outpatient unit.