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Four sensitive screening tools to detect cognitive dysfunction in geriatric emergency department patients: brief alzheimer’s screen, short blessed test, Ottawa 3DY and the caregiver-completed AD8

Methodology: 3.5
Usefulness: 3.5  
Carpenter CR, Bassett ER, Fischer GM, Shirshekan J, Galvin JE, Morris JC.  

Acad Emerg Med 2011 April 18(4): 374-384.



Trained research assistants administered cognitive dysfunction screening tests (Brief Alzheimer’s Screen, Short Blessed Test and Ottawa 3DY) compared with the MMSE to ED patients over the age of 65 and found that all three tests had sensitivities of 95% but the SBT to have the best specificity at 65%.  In spite of the methodological issues (absence of documented patient characteristics, lack of blinding, no explicit cut off points for all tests and restrictive exclusion criteria) in this paper, it shows that the Ottawa 3DY is likely the easiest screening test to use given its brevity and ease of scoring with a sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 51%. 

By Dr. Debra Eagles

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