What does an MMSE score of 26 mean?
Some useful memory impairment resources:
The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is a test that health care professionals give to someone who may have dementia. Dementia refers to a decline in mental ability that is severe enough to affect daily life. This person may have Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia. The MMSE is not the only test given to find out if someone has dementia, but is a test that is often used by health care providers.
The MMSE asks questions such as, “What is the year?”, “Where are we now?”, “Make up and write a sentence about anything,” and “Spell WORLD backwards.” The MMSE is used to help measure short- and long-term memory, concentration and understanding of instructions. The total possible score on the test is 30 points. Some test items are scored higher than others.
The MMSE has a maximum score of 30 points. The scores are generally grouped as follows:
- 25-30 points: normal cognition
- 21-24 points: mild dementia
- 10-20 points: moderate dementia
- 9 points or lower: severe dementia
Not all health care professionals agree on the cut-offs for each stage of dementia. For example, some health care providers will consider a score of 26 or 27 as mild dementia. This is why results from a patient’s other health exams are also important to consider.
If your loved one scores between 25 and 30 on the MMSE, he or she has normal cognition, according to the test. The health professional will consider this result when determining whether your loved one has dementia. Your loved one may also need to complete other tests before a diagnosis can be made. Or, the health care provider may decide that no further testing is needed until other symptoms arise.
If your loved one develops new symptoms, such as trouble with memory, language, the ability to focus, reasoning and judgment or visual perception, let their health care provider know.
Other MMSE scores: