NewsWise reports that researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine show that a new screening instrument to measure cognitive deficit is an effective and potentially useful tool for clinicians. In a paper published in the Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, the research showed that the Alabama Brief Cognitive Screener, known as ABCs, is a capable alternative to other screening instruments currently in use to assess the severity of cognitive deficits. The ability to assess the cognitive state of a patient is an important element both in primary care settings and for specialty medical practices such as psychiatry and neurology. One of the most commonly used tests has been the Mini-Mental State Examination, or MMSE.
“The MMSE was originally developed two decades ago as a means to rapidly measure cognitive function among psychiatric patients, but its ease of use and face validity led to widespread adoption,” said David Geldmacher, M.D., professor in the Department of Neurology at UAB, director of the Division of Memory Disorders and Behavioral Neurology and a study co-author. “Its clinical utility for structured assessment of cognition of older adults with dementia is unquestionable. Unfortunately, use of the MMSE has been hindered by copyright and licensing issues.”