Interactive Guide to Physical Examination

Mental Status

The astute clinician can learn much about the mental status of the patient during the medical interview. By observing the patient's general appearance (including dress and hygiene), level of consciousness, memory (for recent and remote events), speech (including rate, quantity, articulation, and fluency), motor behavior (restlessness, agitation, slowed movements), thought processes, affect and mood, and insight into his/her health, the examiner can assess mental status. Based on these observations, the examiner may wish to perform a more in-depth analysis of the patient's mental state. This would include a more thorough assessment of the patient's:

The Mini-Mental State Examination is a useful tool for screening for dementia based on assessing these domains.