Community residing patients with mild (n = 18) or moderately severe (n = 16) Alzheimer's disease and controls (n = 23) were given Mattis' Dementia Rating Scale (DRS) and a brief measure of confrontation naming selected from the Boston Naming Test (BNT). The DRS was shown to be a reliable and clinically useful measure of mental status in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The DRS subscales and the BNT had excellent internal consistency reliabilities and the total DRS score (TDRS) was shown to be generally unrelated to gender and education. Among the dementia patients, performance on the TDRS was significantly associated with functional competence. The two dementia samples had similar profiles on the DRS and BNT, with the mild subjects performing significantly better than the moderately severe subjects on each measure. Extending the range of DRS subscales would improve this measure's utility as an evaluation instrument.
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