Health Variables Are Informative in Screening for Mild Cognitive Impairment Among Elderly African Americans

Siny Tsang, Scott A. Sperling, Moon Ho Park, Ira M. Helenius, Ishan C. Williams, Carol Manning

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    To aid primary care providers in identifying people at increased risk for cognitive decline, we explored the relative importance of health and demographic variables in detecting potential cognitive impairment using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Participants were 94 older African Americans coming to see their primary care physicians for reasons other than cognitive complaints. Education was strongly associated with cognitive functioning. Among those with at least 9 years of education, patients with more vascular risk factors were at greater risk for mild cognitive impairment. For patients with fewer than 9 years of education, those with fewer prescribed medications were at increased risk for dementia. These results suggest that in addition to the MMSE, primary care physicians can make use of patients’ health information to improve identification of patients at increased risk for cognitive impairment. With improved identification, physicians can implement strategies to mitigate the progression and impact of cognitive difficulties.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1421-1444
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 1

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported in part by Award 13-4 from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund, administered by the Virginia Center on Aging, School of Allied Health, Virginia Commonwealth University. This study was also supported in part by Hoos for Memory at the University of Virginia. Siny Tsang is supported by the research training grant 5-T32-MH 13043 from the National Institute of Mental Health.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © The Author(s) 2017.


    • MMSE
    • cognitive impairment
    • mild cognitive decline

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Gerontology
    • Geriatrics and Gerontology


    Dive into the research topics of 'Health Variables Are Informative in Screening for Mild Cognitive Impairment Among Elderly African Americans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this