If you or someone you know is dealing with symptoms of dementia, a doctor may very well bring up testing the patient with a neurological exam called the Mini-Mental State Examination, or the MMSE. This test, also referred to as the Folstein test, is a questionnaire that is used by doctors to test cognitive (brain) impairment and to screen for issues such as dementia. It takes about ten minutes and can cover areas such as the person’s understanding of orientation, their memory recall, and their arithmetic abilities.
The Mini-Mental State Examination is a simple test that can be used not only to screen for dementia and other mental issues, but it is also used over longer periods of time to determine the effectiveness of certain treatments. By tracking the patient’s responses and score of the test over a period of time, a doctor can determine whether certain medical treatments are working for the patient, and can assist in keeping progression of mental disorders at bay.
The MMSE will typically test certain concerns, such as one’s attention span, arithmetic calculations, memory recall, language abilities, ability to repeat spoken phrases, their orientation in terms of time and place, and their ability to perform certain commands, such as drawing a certain item or scenario. By assigning points to each of these tests and abilities, a doctor can determine the cognitive abilities of a patient in a short period of time, without having to rely on expensive technological tests such as CAT scans and MRIs.