Community Based Memory Testing Provides Useful Screening Information Interview with:
Peter Bayley PhD
War Related Illness and Injury Study Center
Veteran Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System
Palo Alto, California What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Bayley: There is currently widespread interest and debate surrounding the topic of screening for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia The study describes results from National Memory Screening Day in 2010, an annual community event sponsored by the Alzheimer Foundation of America. Face-to-face screening takes place in a private setting; only the individual being tested and the screener are present. The memory screening consists of one of seven validated cognitive tests: the GPCOG (General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition), MINI-COG, MIS (Memory Impairment Screen), the BAS (Brief Alzheimer’s Screening), Kokmen Short Test of Mental Status, Mini-Mental State Examination, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, or the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination.  Participants with scores below cutoff for possible dementia are encouraged to bring the results to their healthcare professional for follow-up and/or inclusion in medical files.

We report the results from a subset of 3,064 participants. Overall, 11.7% failed one of the memory screening tests. As expected, failure rates were higher in older and less-educated participants (P’s < .05). Subjective memory concerns were associated with a 40% greater failure rate for persons of similar age and education but no memory concerns (odds ratio = 1.4, 95% confidence interval = 1.07–1.78). However, most individuals who expressed concern about their memories passed the screening tests (54-96%, depending on age and education). What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Bayley: The results illustrate that community-based screening programs for the detection of memory problems provide results consistent with expected effects of age and education. The findings also show that subjective memory concerns provide useful information on their health status independent of other variables. That the majority of individuals with memory concerns passed the screening tests suggests the participation of substantial numbers of “worried well” or people with cognitive difficulties too mild to detect with the tests used. These results also illustrate a benefit of memory screening which can provide assurance that memory difficulties are not of significant concern at the time of taking the test. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Bayley: Further studies are needed to assess how participants respond to and use the results of memory screening programs outside healthcare settings. Such studies need to evaluate whether the information ultimately influences decision- making or outcomes, and whether such programs have public health value. This information could be used to generate cost-worthiness analyses to determine the value of the memory screening program. More specifically for National Memory Screening Day, future screening events could take input when possible from third-party individuals who are aware of participants’ levels of daily function and use longitudinal screening data from successive screening events.


Bayley, P. J., Kong, J. Y., Mendiondo, M., Lazzeroni, L. C., Borson, S., Buschke, H., Dean, M., Fillit, H., Frank, L., Schmitt, F. A., Peschin, S., Finkel, S., Austen, M., Steinberg, C. and Ashford, J. W. (2015), Findings from the National Memory Screening Day Program. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13234

[wysija_form id=”1″] Interview with:, & Peter Bayley PhD (2015). Community Based Memory Testing Provides Useful Screening Information

Last Updated on February 2, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD