How predictive is the MMSE for cognitive performance after stroke?

Ariane Bour*, Sascha Rasquin, Anita Boreas, Martien Limburg, Frans Verhey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Cognitive deficits are commonly observed in stroke patients. Neuropsychological testing is time-consuming and not easy to administer after hospital discharge. Standardised screening measures are desirable. The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is the test most widely applied to screen for cognitive deficits. Despite its broad use, its predictive characteristics after stroke have not been exhaustively investigated. The aim of this study was to determine whether the MMSE is able to adequately screen for cognitive impairment and dementia after stroke and whether or not the MMSE can predict further deterioration or recovery in cognitive function over time. To this end, we studied 194 first-ever stroke patients without pre-stroke cognitive deterioration who underwent MMSEs and neuropsychological test batteries at 1, 6, 12, and 24 months after stroke. The MMSE score 1 month after stroke predicted cognitive functioning at later follow-up visits. It could not predict deterioration or improvement in cognitive functioning over time. The cut-off score in the screening for 1 cognitive disturbed domain was 27/28 with a sensitivity of 0.72. The cut-off score in the screening for at least 4 impaired domains and dementia were 26/27 and 23/24 with a sensitivity of 0.82 and 0.96, respectively. The results indicated that the MMSE has modest qualities in screening for mild cognitive disturbances and is adequate in screening for moderate cognitive deficits or dementia in stroke patients 1 month after stroke. Poor performance on the MMSE is predictive for cognitive impairment in the long term. However, it cannot be used to predict further cognitive deterioration or improvement over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-637
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • MMSE
  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Stroke

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