Screening for Cognitive Frailty Using Short Cognitive Screening Instruments: Comparison of the Chinese Versions of the MoCA and Qmci Screen
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BACKGROUND: Cognitive frailty describes cognitive impairment associated with physical decline. Few studies have explored whether short cognitive screens identify frailty. We examined the diagnostic accuracy of the Chinese versions of the Quick Mild Cognitive Impairment (Qmci-CN) screen and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA-CN) in identifying cognitive frailty. METHODS: Ninety-five participants with cognitive symptoms [47 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 34 with subjective cognitive disorder, and 14 with dementia] were included from two outpatient rehabilitation clinics. Energy (work intensity) and physical activity levels were recorded. Cognitive frailty was diagnosed by an interdisciplinary team using the IANA/IAGG consensus criteria, stratified on the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS). Instruments were administered sequentially and randomly by trained assessors, blind to the diagnosis. RESULTS: The mean age of the sample was 62.6 ± 10.2 years; median CFS score was 4 ± 1 and 36 (38%) were cognitively frail. The Qmci-CN had similar accuracy in differentiating the non-frail from cognitively frail compared to the MoCA-CN, AUC 0.82 versus 0.74, respectively (p = 0.19). At its optimal cut-off (≤55/100), the Qmci-CN provided a sensitivity of 83% and specificity of 67% versus 91% and 51%, respectively, for the MoCA-CN (≤23/30). Neither was accurate in separating MCI from cognitive frailty but both accurately separated cognitive frailty from dementia. CONCLUSION: Established short cognitive screens may be useful in identifying cognitive frailty in Chinese adults with cognitive complaints but not in separating MCI from cognitive frailty. The Qmci-CN had similar accuracy to the MoCA-CN and a shorter administration time in this small and under-powered study, necessitating the need for adequately powered studies in different healthcare settings.