A standard test used in the field for quickly gauging a person's cognitive level has been the Mini Mental State Exam or MMSE. Most likely when you brought your loved one to the doctor or neurologist, this is the test they used. There is now another cognitive test available called the SLUMS exam.
Many people have looked for alternatives to the MMSE since it makes no correction for those with different education levels. This has often worried practitioners that there was no accounting for that fact, making some question the results if a subject lacked much formal education.
The Division of Geriatric Medicine at Saint Louis University developed a test called the Saint Louis University Mental Status Exam or SLUMS for short. Not the greatest abbreviation but some researchers feel that the SLUMS exam is actually more sensitive than the MMSE exam. In addition, the other key difference is that the MMSE is thought to be good at determining moderate to severe dementia while the SLUMS exam has the advantage of detecting early dementia symptoms. This can be of significance as early detection can allow for treatment and symptom management to begin sooner.
The SLUMS exam has been used at VA Hospitals and has been tested for validity. The test also is available in different languages.
To check out a copy of the SLUMS exam, click here.
Have any of you had your clinician use the SLUMS exam during a physician visit? Let us know your thoughts.