Dementia is a major health problem with 200 Australians diagnosed every day and at least as many having mild cognitive impairment which often precedes dementia. Early diagnosis is critical for interventions yet many older adults at risk do not receive a timely diagnosis. Objective assessment of cognitive abilities is essential for accurate diagnosis at mild or early stages. However, there are insufficient specialist trained personnel and resources to meet the demand for cognitive assessments.
Computerised neuropsychological assessments (CNAs) have received considerable attention in recent years as they have the potential to enable large scale cognitive screening and monitoring of functioning. Moreover, they are time- and cost-effective, accessible, precise and can be administered by people with less expertise. But can CNAs improve timely diagnosis of dementia over traditional pen and paper tests? There is limited information about the acceptability of these tests, and their validity and reliability in the older population. This type of information is critical before we can use these tests in the clinic.
Participants undertaking computer-administered neuropsychological tests in the CogSCAN lab
CogSCAN will be the first study to systematically evaluate and compare several of the most prominent and widely used CNA batteries in cognitively healthy older adults and in persons with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
CogSCAN will evaluate suitability and user-experience in older adults, and examine relationships between test performance and a person’s degree of computer familiarity and their attitude towards computers.
CogSCAN will investigate how CNA test results compare to traditional pen and paper neuropsychological assessment and how the CNA results compare when retested at different time points.
CogSCAN will assess the validity of CNAs in people with different levels of cognitive function (cognitively normal, mild cognitive impairment and dementia) and will examine the effects of demographic and clinical variables (e.g. age, years of education, occupation, premorbid IQ, anxiety and depression symptoms) on test performance.
CogSCAN will measure agreement amongst CNAs for categorisation of normal or cognitively impaired as determined by internal norms provided by the CNA developers.
We anticipate this study will move the field forward and have a major impact on the practice of cognitive testing in older adults with suspected cognitive decline.
- Principal Investigator: Dr Nicole Kochan (CHeBA)
- Co-Investigator: Prof Perminder Sachdev (CHeBA)
- Co-Investigator: Prof Julie Henry (The University of Queensland)
- Co-Investigator: Prof David Bunce (University of Leeds)
- Co-Investigator: Dr John Crawford (CHeBA)
- Associate Investigator: Prof Brian Draper
- Associate Investigator: Prof Henry Brodaty
- Associate Investigator: Prof Jacqueline Close
- Associate Investigator: Dr Teresa Lee
- Study Coordinator: Karen Allison
- Research Officer (Neuropsychology): Dr Karen Croot
- Research Assistant: Min Yee Ong
- Research Assistant: Matilda Rossie