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