Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Sweet 16 tests cognitive decline.

The MMSE (mini mental-state exam) is a standard check used to determine whether cognitive decline has set in. It has a number of issues, such as the 10 to 15 minutes it takes to administer, the need for pen and paper, and the fact that it remains copyrighted, so there is a charge for use. Dr Tamara G Fong and colleagues developed the Sweet 16 to overcome these issues.

Then the team validated the test to prove that it is at least as accurate as the MMSE. The validation results are published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and on the web site of the developers, where you can also get the Sweet 16 test, how to administer it, how to score it, and which scores on the Sweet 16 correspond to scores used in the MMSE.

These validation results refer to the ‘sensitivity’ and ‘specificity’ of the Sweet 16 (and MMSE for comparison). Sensitivity means the rate at which it gets positives (those with the condition) correct, from 0 (none correct) to 1 (all positives correct). Specificity is the rate at which it gets negatives (those without the condition) correct, again from 0 to 1. The closer the test is to 1 on both sensitivity and specificity the better.

The Sweet 16 is free for non-profit use. It takes 2 to 3 minutes to ask the questions and score it. It doesn’t require that the patient uses a pen or paper. And the results were validated against results produced by specialised clinicians using live cases.

Perhaps best of all, it’s easy to use a few of these questions from time to time as a check on how your seniors are doing in this respect.

The developers point out that this is a gateway test, intended as a quick check to see if a specialist should be consulted.

Typically, an MMSE score of 25 or above (out of 30) is considered normal, and the MMSE <-> Sweet 16 paper shows this to be 14 or more out of 16 on the Sweet 16 test.

Click here for the Sweet 16 training manual, test, and comparison of MMSE/Sweet 16 scores.

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November 9, 2010 - Posted by | Activity, Brain, Cognitive decline, Health, Memory, MMSE cognitive test, Success, Sweet 16 cognitive test, Tamara G Fong

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