Neuropsychologic Detection of Abnormal Mental Decline in Older Persons

Paul J. Eslinger, Antonio R. Damasio, Arthur L. Benton, Maurice Van Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


We conducted comprehensive neuropsychologic assessment in normal 60- to 88-year-old persons and in patients with dementia of various causes, matched for age and sex. Patients with dementia performed significantly poorer on tests of short-term memory, temporal orientation, visual perception, and language. Further data analysis, including multivariate classification procedures, identified a combination of three tests (Visual Retention, Controlled Oral Word Association, and Temporal Orientation) that in a cross-validation study correctly classified 89% of cases with a high degree of probability. Only 6.5% of cases were misclassified, while 4.5% were in a questionable, borderline category. The battery constituted by these three discriminating tests provides a brief, easily administered neuropsychologic screening instrument that may be used by a variety of health professionals for the detection of abnormal mental decline in older persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-674
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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