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Assessment of cognitive function

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The cognitive state of the patient is assessed under the following categories:

  • orientation:
    • time e.g. time of day, day of week, season of year
    • place e.g. "Where are you?"
    • person e.g. "What is your name?"

  • concentration:
    • serial 7's - the patient is asked to repeatedly subtract 7 starting with 100
    • list the months of the year in reverse order

  • memory:

  • short-term:
    • ask the patient to repeat a list of digits

  • new information:
    • give the patient an address to remember
    • ask them to repeat it immediately
    • ask them to repeat it after 3 min of conversation

  • recent events:
    • ask about recent events which are known to you with certainty

  • remote events:
    • ask about dates of wars, Prime Ministers etc.

The mini-mental state examination is a good method for assessing the cognitive function, with particular relevance to old-age psychiatry.


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