by Internet Medical Society

  • Assessment of patients with cognitive complaints requires generic clinical neurological skills of history taking and examination, supplemented by 'bedside' cognitive testing
  • Detailed history taking from the patient and a knowledgeable informant is mandatory when assessing a cognitively impaired adult Bedside screening tests of cognition supplement the history: the individual tests have particular strengths and weaknesses; they are not diagnostic in isolation.
  • Certain cognitive tests probe relatively specific regional brain function
  • Neurological examination may reveal signs in 'complex' dementia syndromes which help to refine diagnosis
  • The information gained from history, cognitive testing and examination should permit a provisional diagnostic formulation of cognitive complaints which inform the necessity for and extent of subsequent investigations

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