Screening tests are a key step in the diagnosis of dementia and should therefore be highly sensitive to the detection of mild neurocognitive disorders (NCD). The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) is the most commonly used screening method. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a newer and less well-known screening tool, which has none of the limitations of the MMSE.
The aim of this study was to analyse the reliability of the Polish versions of MoCA 7.2 vs MMSE in the detection of mild NCD among people aged over 60.
The study was carried out at the Department and Clinic of Geriatrics from September 2014 to March 2017. The study included 281 participants, 91 of whom were assigned to the group without NCD. The other 190 had been diagnosed with mild NCD.
In the analysis of the ROC curve of the MoCA 7.2 results, the AUC was 0.925 (p < 0.001). The optimal cut-off point for mild NCD was 23/24 points, with sensitivity and specificity of 83.2% and 79.1%. In the ROC curve of MMSE results, the AUC was 0.847 (p < 0.001). The optimal cut-off point for mild NCD was 27/28 points, with sensitivity and specificity of 75.8% and 66.7%. The difference between AUC MoCA 7.2 and MMSE was 0.078 (p = 0.036).
MoCA 7.2 detects mild NCD with more sensitivity than MMSE. We recommend using the cut-off point for MoCA of 23/24 points, because this is characterised by a higher sensitivity than the previously recommended cut-off point of 25/26 points. For the MMSE, the recommended cut-off point should be 27/28, which gives greater diagnostic accuracy than the previously recommended 25/26 points.