About the Original Cognistat Cognitive Assessment Paper Test

The original Cognistat Paper Test, formerly known as the Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination (NCSE), is a cognitive test instrument that screens the five major ability areas: language, spatial skills, memory, calculations and reasoning. Cognistat was developed in 1979 at Stanford University by Drs. Ralph Kiernan, Jonathan Mueller and J. William Langston.

Standardized for adolescents, adults and seniors

Cognistat’s cognitive assessments have been fully standardized for adolescents, adults and also for seniors in three age groups: (60–64, 65–74 and 75–84).  More than 400 peer-reviewed scientific articles describe Cognistat's use in patients with stroke, dementia, traumatic brain injury, major psychiatric disorders and substance abuse.  These data are provided by both Cognistat and 3rd parties in peer-reviewed clinical reports in multiple languages.

Cognistat Paper Test

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Cognistat Examination Process

Cognistat is presented to the patient in a face-to-face setting.  The full Cognistat cognitive test typically takes 15-20 minutes to administer.

  1. A series of carefully designed questions are presented by the examiner who records the patient’s responses.
  2. The patient interacts only with the examiner and is not required to fill in any forms or interact with a computer.  This conversational approach makes Cognistat ideal for telehealth applications.
  3. The patient may be asked to rearrange colored tiles into specific patterns or to reproduce a line-drawing from memory on a piece of paper.
  4. The examiner records the patient’s responses on the form provided and generates a graphic profile.
  5. If the computer-assisted version of Cognistat is used then all responses are recorded and evaluated automatically.  There is also a complete on-line set of contextual advice for the examiner at every stage of the cognitive test.

Cognistat is uniquely attentive to shifting state factors, medical issues and current medications. By asking the examiner to determine the presence or absence of specific factors, Cognistat alerts the examiner to the impact that shifting state variables can have on test performance. This decreases the risk that examiners will arrive at false positive conclusions and underscores the importance of repeat testing whenever factors have changed or been modified by treatment.

Cognitive Assessments for a Variety of Conditions

Cognistat has an extensive body of peer-reviewed literature reports that describe is use as a cognitive impairment assessment test in the fields of Stroke, Dementia, Rehabilitation Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Geriatric Nursing, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Elderly Care, Traumatic Brain Injury, Addiction, Neurosurgery, Neuropsychology, Psychiatry, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease and PTSD domains.

Any health care system, hospital, VA center, private clinic or practice that has the need to administer a cognitive assessment for following conditions can use Cognistat:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Stroke victims
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Substance abuse
  • PTSD


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  1. Kiernan, R.J., Mueller J., Langston J.W., Van Dyke C. The Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination, A Brief but Differentiated Approach to Cognitive Assessment. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1987; 107:481–485
  2. Schwamm L.H., Van Dyke C., Kiernan R.J., Merrin E., Mueller J. The Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination, Comparison of the NCSE and MMSE in a Neurosurgical Population. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1987; 107:486-491