Six-Item Cognitive Impairment Test (6CIT)

  • Tim M. Gale
  • Andrew J. Larner


The Six-item Cognitive Impairment Test (6CIT) was designed to assess global cognitive status in dementia. Developed in the 1980s as an abbreviated version of the 26-item Blessed Information-Memory Concentration Scale, the 6CIT is an internationally used, and well-validated, screening tool. It was designed principally for use in primary care, but has also found application in secondary care settings. It has been compared favorably to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) due to its brevity and ease of use, and there are data to suggest that it is now used more frequently than the MMSE in primary care settings. Some evidence suggests that it outperforms the MMSE as a screening tool for dementia, especially in its mildest stage. The 6CIT has been translated into many different languages. It comprises six questions; one memory (remembering a 5-item name and address), two calculation (reciting numbers backwards from 20 to 1 and months of the year backwards) and three orientation (year, month, and time of day). The time taken to administer 6CIT is approximately 2 min, which compares favorably to other screening instruments. However this brevity has also been seen as disadvantageous, with the suggestion that more features of dementia can be detected using more comprehensive screening tools. Criticisms that the scoring system is too complex have been raised, but distribution of 6CIT with computer software may go some way to resolving this. In summary, the 6CIT is a brief, validated screening tool that may be preferable to the MMSE. Since a typical UK primary care consultation stands at only 7.5 min, the brevity and simplicity of the scale are its greatest advantages.


Dementia Alzheimer’s Disease Cognitive Impairment Test Screening 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research & Development DepartmentHertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation TrustAbbots LangleyUK
  2. 2.School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of HertfordshireHatfieldUK
  3. 3.Research & Development DepartmentHPFT Learning & Development CentreHatfield, HertsUK
  4. 4.Cognitive Function Clinic, Walton Centre for Neurology and NeurosurgeryLiverpoolUK

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