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A brief clinical tool to assess physical function: the mini-physical performance test


Wilkins, Consuelo H., Roe, Catherine M., Morris, John C.


Archives Of Gerontology And Geriatrics, Volume: 50, No.: 1, Pages.: 96-100

Year of Publication



The aim was to develop a brief physical performance assessment tool that can be reliably used to detect physical impairment in older adults with and without mild dementia. Scores on the 9-item physical performance test (PPT) from non-demented participants were used to develop and validate the 4-item mini-PPT. The validated mini-PPT was then used to predict total PPT score and functional physical status in participants with mild dementia. Receiver operating curve (ROC) analyses were used to generate a cutoff score that classifies participants as functional vs. not functional. The setting was in the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (Washington University). A total of 1199 participants met inclusion criteria: 574 non-demented participants, 436 with very mild dementia, measured by the clinical dementia rating (CDR)=0.5 and 189 with mild dementia (CDR=1). The mean age of the sample was 76.4 years, mean educational attainment was 14 years, 58% were women, and 11% were African American. A 4-item scale, the mini-PPT, was developed (based on the results of multiple regression analyses and clinical meaningfulness) that highly correlated with total PPT score (r=0.917, p<0.0001) in the non-demented sample. The correlation of the mini-PPT with total PPT was 0.90 among those with very mild, and 0.91 among those with mild dementia. Using the ROCs, a cutoff score of 12 correctly classified at least 85% of non-demented and demented persons. The 4-item mini-PPT is highly correlated with the 9-item PPT in non-demented and mildly demented persons. This brief tool may be useful in detecting early physical impairment in the clinical setting.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Wilkins_2010, doi = {10.1016/j.archger.2009.02.006}, url = {}, year = 2010, month = {jan}, publisher = {Elsevier {BV}}, volume = {50}, number = {1}, pages = {96--100}, author = {Consuelo H. Wilkins and Catherine M. Roe and John C. Morris}, title = {A brief clinical tool to assess physical function: The mini-physical performance test}, journal = {Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics} }


activities of daily living, aged, aged, 80 and over, alzheimer disease, dementia, diagnosis, disability evaluation, female, geriatric assessment, humans, male, neuropsychological tests, physical fitness, physiology, probability, psychology, roc curve, task performance and analysis

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified), Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Types of Study

Non randomised controlled trial

Type of Outcomes

Physical Health, Risk reduction (of dementia and co-morbidities)

Type of Interventions

Diagnostic Target Identification

Diagnostic Targets