Wednesday, February 01, 2006

And then I said...

Tell me, have you noticed any changes in your memory? What is your opinion of your memory? Are some things harder to remember, things like names? May I please test your memory?

First, what is your birthday? Yes, that's right! And the place where you were born...and your mother's maiden name? Very good.

Now, what about today? What is the complete date, the month, the year? And the season is...? Some of these questions seem easy, but not everyone finds them easy. How about the location? Can you tell me our address, our town or city?

If I tell you three words, can you remember them for me? How about: flag, tree, baseball. Please, say those things for me. Yes. I'll ask you later on.

Can you spell "world" backwards? Yes. What were those three words I gave you?

Can you name these objects? Can you repeat after me: "No ifs, ands, or buts..."

...Can you draw a big clock, and put in all the numbers? A big clock, so I can see all the numbers. Take your time.

Tell me, who is the President? Uh-huh. And the one before him...and the one before him? Let's think, who was the one before him? How far back can you go?

You've made very good effort. It's clear that you're motivated.

(How stressful, how terrible it can be, for any adult to face a doctor who questions their cognition. How nightmarish it is, for an older adult who may already be worried about Alzheimers. The wrong answer can lead to the loss of one's car, one's's independence, one's control.)

Nick has blogged about these questions, here.


Blogger Fallen Angels said...

Oh man...flashbacks of my SSDI psych exam. :P I didn't get the clock task though...but let's not forget, "count backwards from 100 by 7's". Can anyone do that for very long?


8:45 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Ah, the good old Mental Status Exam. I hate serial 7's, too, Sera!

9:49 AM  
Blogger Joel said... was inspired by this.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

An article from this blog has been featured on the first Carnival of the Bipolars which will appear at Midnight Pacific Time, 3 February 2006 at

3:51 PM  
Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

It *is* very heard to go through this whether you are the evaluator or the testee.

4:50 PM  
Blogger the_applicant said...

It's hard to watch someone struggle through to answer and if you are the patient and your cognition functions just fine, it just feels funny that someone is asking you all these questions. However, it's important to do these assessments - I am just not sure what ways could we make the assessment more comfortable for the patient to go through because usually the questions end up being difficult or too easy.

11:45 PM  

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