Recognition of Alzheimer's disease: the 7 Minute Screen.Fam Med 1998; 30(4):265-71FM
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
Because Alzheimer's disease (AD) tends to be underdiagnosed, we developed a brief neurocognitive screening battery to identify AD patients. The 7 Minute Screen consists of four individual tests (orientation, memory, clock drawing, verbal fluency). The screen can be rapidly administered and scored and therefore may be appropriate for use in the primary care setting. This study determined the validity and reliability of the 7 Minute Screen in distinguishing patients with AD from healthy controls.
The 7 Minute Screen was administered to 60 consecutive referrals to a memory disorders clinic who were subsequently diagnosed with probable AD and to 60 community-dwelling individuals. Analysis of the combined scores on the four individual tests was used to determine the probability of dementia in each subject. We also evaluated test-retest and inter-rater reliability, as well as the time required to administer the battery.
When compared with the normal subjects, the patients with AD were significantly more impaired on each of the four tests included in the 7 Minute Screen. When the four tests were combined into a logistic regression model, the battery correctly diagnosed 92% of the patients with AD and 96% of the normal subjects. The battery performed equally well when only patients with mild and very mild AD were included. Mean time for administration and scoring was 7 minutes 42 seconds.
The 7 Minute Screen is a reliable and valid instrument for identifying patients with AD. It appears to be a potentially useful tool for identifying patients with AD in a primary care setting.