A recommended scale for cognitive screening in clinical trials of Parkinson's disease

Kelvin L. Chou*, Melissa M. Amick, Jason Brandt, Richard Camicioli, Karen Frei, Darren Gitelman, Jennifer G Goldman, John Growdon, Howard I. Hurtig, Bonnie Levin, Irene Litvan, Laura Marsh, Tatyana Simuni, Alexander I. Tröster, Ergun Y. Uc

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Cognitive impairment is common in Parkinson's disease (PD). There is a critical need for a brief, standard cognitive screening measure for use in PD trials whose primary focus is not on cognition. The Parkinson Study Group (PSG) Cognitive/Psychiatric Working Group formed a Task Force to make recommendations for a cognitive scale that could screen for dementia and mild cognitive impairment in clinical trials of PD where cognition is not the primary outcome. This Task Force conducted a systematic literature search for cognitive assessments previously used in a PD population. Scales were then evaluated for their appropriateness to screen for cognitive deficits in clinical trials, including brief administration time (<15 minutes), assessment of the major cognitive domains, and potential to detect subtle cognitive impairment in PD. Five scales of global cognition met the predetermined screening criteria and were considered for review. Based on the Task Force's evaluation criteria the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), appeared to be the most suitable measure. This Task Force recommends consideration of the MoCA as a minimum cognitive screening measure in clinical trials of PD where cognitive performance is not the primary outcome measure. The MoCA still requires further study of its diagnostic utility in PD populations but appears to be the most appropriate measure among the currently available brief cognitive assessments. Widespread adoption of a single instrument such as the MoCA in clinical trials can improve comparability between research studies on PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2501-2507
Number of pages7
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number15
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Cognitive impairment
  • Cognitive screening
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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