What is mental status

A comprehensive perspective of a person’s state of function with regard to awareness, alertness, confusion, cognitive function, reasoning, judgment, emotions, mood, behavior, thoughts, and speech. Assessing mental status is part of a neurological examination, which may involve any number of assessment tools such as the mini mental status examination (MMSE), general questions and instructions that elicit responses from the person (such as repeating a sequence of numbers or spelling a word backward), and the neurologist’s observations.

Mental status can reflect symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as anxiety, depression, dementia, cognitive dysfunction, memory impairment, and mood swings. Mental status typically changes with events and circumstances and in Parkinson’s tends to show a slow but steady decline as the disease progresses. The ways in which mental status changes often provide insights into problems such as MEDICATION SIDE EFFECTS or FLUCTUATING PHENOMENON (anti-parkinson’s medications are becoming ineffective, causing unpredictable lapses in control of symptoms). cognitive impairments often improve with anti-Parkinson’s medications and worsen when medications wear off, although they can be persistent in the late stages of Parkinson’s.