Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Identifying an Optimal Cutoff of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment to Predict Amyloid-PET Positivity in a Referral Memory Clinic

Nair, Anil K. MD; Ramaswamy, Srinath MD; Kan, Krystal; Nair, Shreya

Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders: July–September 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 194–199
doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000330
Original Articles

Background: Brain amyloid- positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is highly sensitive for identifying Alzheimer disease. Currently, there is a lack of insight on the association between amyloid-PET status and the widely used Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA). Studying this relationship may optimize the clinical use of amyloid-PET imaging.

Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between amyloid-PET status and MoCA scores and to identify a MoCA score cutoff that translates to amyloid-PET positivity.

Methods: Using retrospective chart review, patients from 2010 to 2017 with amyloid-PET scans (positive or negative) and MoCA test scores were included. We studied the relationship between amyloid-PET status and MoCA scores and the influence of age, sex, education, and race. A MoCA score cutoff for amyloid-PET positivity was estimated.

Results: Among the 684 clinic patients with dementia, 99 fulfilled inclusion criteria. Amyloid-PET positivity was associated significantly with lower MoCA scores (median=19, U=847, P=0.01). The MoCA score cutoff (25) used for minimal cognitive impairment (MCI) predicted amyloid-PET positivity suboptimally (sensitivity=94.6%, specificity=13.9%). A MoCA score cutoff of 20 patients had optimal sensitivity (64.2%) and specificity (67.4%).

Conclusions: Amyloid-PET positivity is associated with lower MoCA scores. Clinical utility of amyloid-PET scan is likely to be suboptimal at the MoCA score cutoff for minimal cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer Disease Center, Quincy, MA

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Srinath Ramaswamy, MD, 54 Miller Street FL4, Quincy, MA 02169 (e-mail:

Received August 28, 2018

Accepted May 17, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved