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1.  Diagnostic Validity of Age- And Education-Corrections for the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in African American Elders 
Objectives
To investigate whether demographic (age and education) adjustments for the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) attenuate mean score discrepancies between African American and Caucasian adults, and to determine whether demographically-adjusted MMSE scores improve the diagnostic classification accuracy of dementia in African American adults when compared to unadjusted MMSE scores.
Design
Cross-sectional study.
Setting
Community-dwelling adults participating in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Registry (ADPR) and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC).
Participants
Three thousand two hundred fifty-four adults (2819 Caucasian, 435 African American) aged 60 and older.
Measurements
MMSE at study entry.
Results
African American adults obtained significantly lower unadjusted MMSE scores (23.0 ± 7.4) compared to Caucasian adults (25.3 ± 5.4). This discrepancy persisted despite adjustment of MMSE scores for age and years of education using established regression weights or newly-derived weights. However, controlling for dementia severity at baseline and adjusting MMSE scores for age and quality of education attenuated this discrepancy. Among African American adults, an age- and education-adjusted MMSE cut score of 23/24 provided optimal dementia classification accuracy, but this represented only a modest improvement over an unadjusted MMSE cut score of 22/23. The posterior probability of dementia in African American adults is presented for various unadjusted MMSE cut scores and prevalence rates of dementia.
Conclusion
Age, dementia severity at study entry, and quality of educational experience are important explanatory factors to understand the existing discrepancies in MMSE performance between Caucasian and African American adults. Our findings support the use of unadjusted MMSE scores when screening African American elders for dementia, with an unadjusted MMSE cut score of 22/23 yielding optimal classification accuracy.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03766.x
PMCID: PMC3288600  PMID: 22150301
MMSE; African American; ethnicity; dementia; cognition
2.  Internal Consistency and Test-Retest Stability of the Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form in African American Older Adults 
The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is one of the most widely used self-rated mood questionnaires for older adults. It is highly correlated with clinical diagnoses of depression and has demonstrated validity across different patient populations. However, the reliability of the GDS among African American older adults remains to be firmly established. In a baseline sample of 401 African American adults age 51 and over, the GDS-15 item short form demonstrates good internal consistency (KR20=.71). Stability over a 15-month interval in a retest sample of 51 adults is deemed adequate (r=.68). These findings support the use of the GDS-15 item short form as a reliable mood questionnaire among African American older adults.
doi:10.1007/s10862-008-9123-z
PMCID: PMC2794552  PMID: 20161488
Geriatric depression scale; GDS; Depression; African American; Reliability
3.  Differential Item Functioning of the Boston Naming Test in Cognitively Normal African American and Caucasian Older Adults 
Scores on the Boston Naming Test (BNT) are frequently lower for African American when compared to Caucasian adults. Although demographically-based norms can mitigate the impact of this discrepancy on the likelihood of erroneous diagnostic impressions, a growing consensus suggests that group norms do not sufficiently address or advance our understanding of the underlying psychometric and sociocultural factors that lead to between-group score discrepancies. Using item response theory and methods to detect differential item functioning (DIF), the current investigation moves beyond comparisons of the summed total score to examine whether the conditional probability of responding correctly to individual BNT items differs between African American and Caucasian adults. Participants included 670 adults age 52 and older who took part in Mayo's Older Americans and Older African Americans Normative Studies. Under a 2-parameter logistic IRT framework and after correction for the false discovery rate, 12 items where shown to demonstrate DIF. Six of these 12 items (“dominoes,” “escalator,” “muzzle,” “latch,” “tripod,” and “palette”) were also identified in additional analyses using hierarchical logistic regression models and represent the strongest evidence for race/ethnicity-based DIF. These findings afford a finer characterization of the psychometric properties of the BNT and expand our understanding of between-group performance.
doi:10.1017/S1355617709990361
PMCID: PMC2835360  PMID: 19570311
Boston Naming Test; Item response theory; Differential item functioning; Ethnicity; Race; Bias

Results 1-3 (3)