85th Anniversary - ArchivesMay 2019

From the archives: JGH test for early detection of dementia goes into world-wide use

In 2005, the world took note of—and soon adopted—the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), a simple, yet refined, questionnaire that had been developed by Dr. Howard Chertkow, founding director of the JGH Memory Clinic, and his colleagues at the Lady Davis Institute.

Capable of being administered in only 12 minutes, the questionnaire was the first tool that enabled clinicians to accurately differentiate between the expected memory function of an elderly person and the mild cognitive impairment that could be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

“There was really nothing that allowed doctors to make this particular distinction before MoCA,” Dr. Chertkow said. “The only tools available were designed to pick up dementia, which is a much more severe condition. MoCA allows physicians to make an earlier and faster diagnosis of memory impairment.”

MoCA was cited by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s in its International Collaborative Research Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease as one of the seven top Canadian contributions to the dementia field.

The developers made MoCA freely available to all physicians online. It has been translated into 32 languages and has become a world standard for diagnosing cognitive decline across a range of conditions, including aging, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and head injuries.


The Jewish General Hospital’s 85th anniversary is an ideal occasion to take a glimpse into the past. By remembering the extraordinary efforts of the hospital’s founders, supporters, staff and volunteers, we honour the enduring legacy of the JGH.

Look for a new scrapbook item every week during 2019 in JGH News.

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