Vol. 5 nº 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar de 2011
Original Article Páginas: 26 a 30

Formal education, health literacy and Mini-Mental State Examination

Authors Sonia Maria Dozzi Brucki1; Letícia Lessa Mansur2; Maria Teresa Carthery-Goulart2; Ricardo Nitrini1


keywords: literacy, health literacy, functional literacy, S-TOFHLA, education, Mini-Mental State Examination.

The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is a widely used screening test for cognitive impairment, but is heavily biased by education. Educational level has frequently been ranked using years of schooling, which may not be a good indirect measure of educational level because there is great heterogeneity in standards of schooling among populations and across regions of the same country. S-TOFHLA is a measure of health literacy with some results indicating that it is a good measure for literacy level. Objective: To evaluate the correlations between years of schooling and scores on the S-TOFHLA and the MMSE. Methods: Healthy subjects without cognitive impairment were submitted to the S-TOFHLA and the MMSE. Correlations and regression analysis were performed to determine possible associations among variables. Results: Both years of schooling and S-TOFHLA scores were strongly correlated with MMSE scores, but the strongest association was reached by the S-TOFHLA (r=0.702, p<0.01), where the S-TOFHLA was the best predictor of MMSE scores (R2=0.494, p<0.001). Conclusions: A stronger association between S-TOFHLA scores and MMSE performance was found than between years of education and MMSE scores. This finding justifies further studies incorporating years of schooling together with S-TOFHLA score, to evaluate cognitive performance.


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