Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)


Purpose of the measure

The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was originally developed as a brief screening tool to provide a quantitative evaluation of cognitive impairment and to record cognitive changes over time (Folstein, Folstein, & McHugh, 1975). Since that time it has become recognized that repeated use of the MMSE with the same client reduces its validity, so it is advised that this screening tool not be used repeatedly with the same individual if the time interval between testing is short. Rather than provide a diagnosis, the measure should be used to detect the presence of cognitive impairment (Folstein, Robins, & Helzer, 1983). The MMSE briefly measures orientation to time and place, immediate recall, short-term verbal memory, calculation, language, and construct ability. While the measure was originally used to detect dementia within a psychiatric setting, its use has become widespread. Since 1993, the MMSE has been available with an attached table that enables patient-specific norms to be identified on the basis of age and educational level (Crum, Anthony, Bassett, & Folstein, 1993).

Author*: Lisa Zeltzer, MSc OT;
Editors: Nicol Korner-Bitensky, PhD OT; Elissa Sitcoff, BA BSc

Evidence reviewed as of before 07-11-2010

NOTE: *The authors have no direct financial interest in any tools, tests or interventions presented in StrokEngine.