The present study investigated the sensitivity and specificity of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) for demented patients (n = 82, using NINCDS criteria) and 114 healthy controls – equivalent in age, years of education and gender-ratio – from the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing. The HVLT ‘Total Recall’ score had 87% sensitivity and 98% specificity for dementia using a cut-off score of 14.5. Using a ‘Memory’ score (the sum of the ‘Total Recall’ and the ‘Discrimination Index’) with a cut-off score of 24.5 gave a 91% sensitivity and 98% specificity for Alzheimer’s disease cases when compared to controls. Unlike the MMSE, the HVLT has no ceiling effects and does not have to be adjusted for education. We conclude that the HVLT is an easy to administer, quick and well tolerated tool for the screening of dementia.

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