Published online Jul 19, 2021. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i7.265
Peer-review started: December 16, 2020
First decision: April 6, 2021
Revised: May 10, 2021
Accepted: June 28, 2021
Article in press: June 28, 2021
Published online: July 19, 2021
In this editorial we comment on the article by Cahn-Hidalgo D published in a recent issue of the World Journal of Psychiatry 2020; 10(1); 1-11. We focus on the importance of utilizing psychometrically valid cognitive screening tools when assessing for cognitive decline in older adults in a psychiatric outpatient setting. We compared the use of Cognivue® to use of the montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA) as a cognitive screening tool. A total of 58 patients aged 55 and over participated in this comparison study. Patients completed cognitive screening on Cognivue®, a new Food and Drug Administration-cleared computer screening device, and the MoCA. The results of patient performance using these two instruments were analyzed. Sixteen (28%) patients screened negative for cognitive impairment on both assessments. Forty-two (72%) patients screened positive on one or both of the assessments. There was 43% agreement between Cognivue® and the MoCA in identifying patients with cognitive impairment, and individual subtests were weakly correlated. The MoCA was determined to be the preferred instrument due to its high sensitivity and specificity (100% and 87%, respectively) when screening for cognitive impairment. We propose that the use of Cognivue® cognitive screening tool be closely reviewed until more research proves that the test meets the standards for reliability and validity. It is important for clinicians to remember that screeners should not be used to diagnosis patients with neurocognitive disorders; instead, they should be used to determine whether further evaluation is warranted. Additionally, misdiagnosing of neurocognitive disorders can pose unnecessary psychological and emotional harm to patients and their families and also lead to incorrect treatment and undue healthcare costs.
Core Tip: Practicing clinicians should utilize validated measures when screening for cognitive impairment among older adults. Based on their findings they should make recommendations for further evaluation and not use cognitive screening tools as diagnostic tools.