PatientPlus articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use, so you may find the language more technical than the condition leaflets.
This quick to use screening test was first introduced in 1972. Developed by geriatricians, this is probably the best known test in general hospital usage. The Abbreviated Mental Test (AMT) score lacks validation in primary care and screening populations; most validity data refer to correlation to the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). It is probably non-translatable, either linguistically or culturally, without revalidation and it is likely that several of the questions will need alteration to bring them up to date (and then validated again). In our ever-increasingly multicultural society it is not possible to recommend this test any longer, especially in view of its validity data.
The Six-item Cognitive Impairment Test (6CIT) is a better alternative in Primary Care, which has been validated in that environment.
Reproduced from Hodkinson HM; Evaluation of a mental test score for assessment of mental impairment in the elderly. Age Ageing. 1972 Nov;1(4):233-8. By permission of Oxford University Press.
Advantages of the AMT
Simple to perform and score.
- Add notes to any clinical page and create a reflective diary
- Automatically track and log every page you have viewed
- Print and export a summary to use in your appraisal
Disadvantages of the AMT
Very limited validity data. Familiarity has led to numerous adaptations of the questions, leading to questionable validity.
Culturally specific. Validity has almost certainly deteriorated over the last 30+ years as questions such as date of First World War and name of the monarch will carry less significance in the 21st century than they did in the 20th.
At the 7/8 cut-off: Sensitivity = 70-80%, Specificity = 71-90%. These are overall figures (not screening population). No probability data have been found for detection of mild dementia but correlation data suggest it would be likely to be equivalent to MMSE in a screening group (30-60% sensitivity and 90-96% specificity).
Further reading & references
- Hodkinson HM; Evaluation of a mental test score for assessment of mental impairment in the elderly. Age Ageing. 1972 Nov;1(4):233-8.
- Jitapunkul S, Pillay I, Ebrahim S; The abbreviated mental test: its use and validity. Age Ageing. 1991 Sep;20(5):332-6.
- MacKenzie DM, Copp P, Shaw RJ, et al; Brief cognitive screening of the elderly: a comparison of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Abbreviated Mental Test (AMT) and Mental Status Questionnaire (MSQ). Psychol Med. 1996 Mar;26(2):427-30.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Huw Thomas
Dr Hayley Willacy
Dr Colin Tidy