Clinical evaluation of early cognitive symptoms

J. Riley McCarten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The etiology of cognitive impairment in older adults is almost always a clinical diagnosis without definitive biomarkers. The clinical evaluation, therefore, is indispensable. Evaluating cognitive symptoms requires a deliberate approach to define the onset, course, and nature of symptoms. An informant who knows the patient well is essential. The physician must have a working knowledge of the basics of cognitive function. The neurologic examination also is fundamental to defining the origin of cognitive impairment. Extraocular movements, speech, and gait are examples of high-yield examination findings that can be observed and tested quickly, adding to the clinical impression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-807
Number of pages17
JournalClinics in Geriatric Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding Sources: VA Cooperative Studies Program , VA HSR&D , NIH , Minnesota Veterans Medical Research & Education Foundation .


  • Alzheimer
  • Cognitive
  • Dementia
  • Executive
  • Memory


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