The Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) -- the brief structured screening test of mental status that is given to all patients suspected of having dementia -- was created by Marshal Folstein, M.D., a Johns Hopkins psychiatrist.
In 1973, after making her hospital rounds of geriatric patients, Susan Folstein, M.D., a young resident, would report on their mental state to her husband, Marshal Folstein
, who was the attending psychiatrist.
When Dr. Folstein
would ask his
wife how the various patients were doing, she
'd say that they were doing the same, better or worse than the last time she saw them.
Concerned that these descriptions weren't precise enough, Dr. Folstein
wrote up a series of simple, direct and objective questions and commands that he
wife to present to the patients: What year is it?
devised a scoring system from 0 to 30, with scores of 24 and higher considered normal.
A score of 10 or less indicated severe dementia, scores between 10 and 19 indicated moderate dementia, and those who scored 19 to 24 had mild dementia.
The test, which Dr. Folstein
dubbed the Mini-Mental State Exam, could be completed in less than 10 minutes.