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What is included in a mini-mental state exam for dementia?

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Quick Answer

The Mini-Mental State Exam, or MMSE, includes questions and tasks to evaluate a subject's memory, problem-solving skills and other cognitive abilities, according to the Alzheimer's Association. While individuals without medical experience can access similar tests, professionals should administer and score the test. Medical professionals use the test both to diagnose dementia and to provide an assessment of its progress in individuals who have already received a diagnosis of dementia.

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Full Answer

The MMSE includes questions to evaluate the test-taker's memory capacity and mental awareness. The version of the exam available through the Australian Independent Hospital Pricing Authority includes questions about what date, month and time it is at the time of the test and where the test-taker is when the test is administered. The exam also includes a question in which the subject must repeat a short list of objects and requires the subject to list numbers in reverse order, notes the IHPA.

The MMSE also includes questions to test problem-solving skills, says the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. The test evaluates the subject's ability to copy a series of interconnected geometric shapes. Yet another question requires the interviewee to write a simple grammatically-correct sentence. The exam's shortcomings include a lack of sensitivity to language differences and the duration of administration and scoring. The test and scoring process both take more time than is ideal.

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