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Esther Heerema, MSW

The Clock-Drawing Test: New Research on Scoring and Usefulness

By February 12, 2012

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The clock-drawing test has been around for many years and is sometimes used independently to quickly screen people for signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's and other dementia. It's also been integrated as a part of other screening tests such as the Mini-Cog. Some family members have even used it in their homes to unofficially screen a loved one if memory problems or behavior changes have become a concern.

Here's a couple of things I've found recent research on, as they relate to the clock-drawing test.

  • The MMSE is often used as a standard test to screen for dementia, but did you know that the clock-drawing test can identify a significant deficit in executive functioning that the MMSE might miss?
  • There are more than 15 different scoring methods. If you've administered the clock-drawing test before, which one do you use? Recent research suggests a simple scoring method is just as accurate as a complex one.

Read more here about the how the clock-drawing test is conducted, further research about different scoring methods, and why it's useful as a screening tool for dementia.

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