Vol. 15 nº 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec de 2021
Original Article Páginas: 458 a 463

Cognitive screening instruments for dementia: comparing metrics of test limitation

Authors Andrew J. Larner


keywords: cognitive screening, dementia, diagnosis, limitations, memory clinic.

Cognitive screening instruments (CSIs) for dementia and mild cognitive impairment are usually characterized in terms of measures of discrimination such as sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios, but these CSIs also have limitations.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to calculate various measures of test limitation for commonly used CSIs, namely, misclassification rate (MR), net harm/net benefit ratio (H/B), and the likelihood to be diagnosed or misdiagnosed (LDM).
METHODS: Data from several previously reported pragmatic test accuracy studies of CSIs (Mini-Mental State Examination, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, Mini-Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination, Six-item Cognitive Impairment Test, informant Ascertain Dementia 8, Test Your Memory test, and Free-Cog) undertaken in a single clinic were reanalyzed to calculate and compare MR, H/B, and the LDM for each test.
RESULTS: Some CSIs with very high sensitivity but low specificity for dementia fared poorly on measures of limitation, with high MRs, low H/B, and low LDM; some had likelihoods favoring misdiagnosis over diagnosis. Tests with a better balance of sensitivity and specificity fared better on measures of limitation.
CONCLUSIONS: When deciding which CSI to administer, measures of test limitation as well as measures of test discrimination should be considered. Identification of CSIs with high MR, low H/B, and low LDM, may have implications for their use in clinical practice.


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