The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a brief, 30-question test that helps healthcare professionals detect cognitive impairments very early on, allowing for faster diagnosis and patient care. MoCA is the most sensitive test available for detecting Alzheimer’s disease, measuring executive functions and multiple cognitive domains which are important components not measured by the MMSE.

From 1992 to 2000, the MoCA test went through many versions and adaptations before it was first validated in 2000 on a consecutive group of subjects that were referred to a memory clinic. All subjects were classified as cognitively intact or impaired based on a gold standard neuropsychological assessment. The MoCA test performance to distinguish the two groups was excellent.

In 2003, after analysis of the 2000 study results, a few elements of the test were optmized, and a new validation study was completed in 2003-2004, which confirmed the test’s discriminatory ability to distinguish Normal controls, from subjects with Mild Cognitive Impairment or Mild Alzheimer’s disease [1].

The test is available in nearly 200 countries, and many centers around the world are authorized to translate, adapt, and validate the test for their specific linguistic, cultural, and educational differences. (A language validation study was conducted for many languages to demonstrate the validity of the test in the newly translated language.)

To decrease the learning effect from multiple administrations of the MoCA over a short period of time, alternate versions have been made available. The full test has also been adapted for people with disabilities including both physical and mental. The latest full version of the test is now available on an iPad.

Milestones

The MoCA is recommended by the Canadian Consensus Conference for Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia Guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease since 2007, and the NIH and Canadian Stroke Consortium for Vascular Cognitive Impairment since 2006.

The MoCA validation study (Nasreddine et al. JAGS 2005) is identified by Thomson Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators as one of the most cited papers in the research area of “mild cognitive Impairment”.

The MoCA test is used in 200+ countries around the world.

MoCA is among the top innovations in Alzheimer’s research in Canada, according to Canadian Institute of Health Research (2013).

About the founder

Dr Ziad Nasreddine, Neurologist, graduated from the University of Sherbrooke, Québec, and then completed a fellowship in Cognitive Neurology/Neurobehavior at UCLA. In 1992, during his residency program, Dr Nasreddine perceived the need for a more comprehensive cognitive screening adapted for clinicians, and thus developed his first comprehensive cognitive screening test. In 1996, after his fellowship, he decided to adapt his comprehensive screen and create a much quicker comprehensive assessment that is adapted to first line specialty clinics with high volume of patients.

Special Thanks to MoCA Collaborators

  • Isabelle Rouleau UQAM

  • Raymonde Labrecque CHUM

  • Youssef Ghantous Cornwall

  • Jeffrey Cummings Cleveland Clinic

  • Jeffrey Saver UCLA

  • Emir Aboulhosn eSIM Connectivity

  • Natalie Phillips Concordia

  • Howard Chertkow Baycrest

  • Isabelle Collin MoCA Clinic

  • Victor whitehead Jewish General

  • Luce Hébert MoCA Clinic

  • Simon Charbonneau CHUM

  • Serge Gauthier McGill

  • Vladimir Hachinski Western

  • Sandra Black Sunnybrook

  • Valérie Bédirian UQAM

  • Marie-Christine Stafford Solutions Stat

  • Mario Mendez UCLA

  • Parunyou Julayanont Lubbock

  • Rémi Bouchard Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus

  • Kathleen Gallant MoCA Clinic

  • Martine Lafontaine MoCA Clinic

  • Valérie Ko-Kuong MoCA Clinic

  • Daniele Ostiguy MoCA Clinic

  • Jewish General Memory Clinic

  • Neuro Rive-Sud

[1] (Nasreddine ZS, Phillips NA, Bédirian V, Charbonneau S, Whitehead V, Collin I, Cummings JLC, Chertkow H. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment, MoCA: A Brief Screening Tool For Mild Cognitive Impairment. J Am Geriatr Soc 53:695–699, 2005)