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Study: Internet-based screening can help detect aging-related cognitive deficits


We just came across a new and fas­ci­nat­ing sci­en­tific paper, titled Devel­op­ment and eval­u­a­tion of a self-admin­is­tered on-line test of mem­o­ry and atten­tion for mid­dle-aged and old­er adults, and pub­lished at Fron­tiers in Aging Neu­ro­science. Here is the very read­able abstract:

There is a need for rapid and reli­able Inter­net-based screen­ing tools for cog­ni­tive assess­ment in mid­dle-aged and old­er adults. We report the psy­cho­me­t­ric prop­er­ties of an on-line tool designed to screen for cog­ni­tive deficits that require fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion. The tool (Edi­tor’s note: Cog­nic­i­ti) is com­posed of mea­sures of mem­o­ry and exec­u­tive atten­tion process­es known to be sen­si­tive to brain changes asso­ci­at­ed with aging and with cog­ni­tive dis­or­ders that become more preva­lent with age. These mea­sures includ­ed spa­tial work­ing mem­o­ry, Stroop inter­fer­ence, face-name asso­cia­tive recog­ni­tion, and num­ber-let­ter alter­na­tion. Nor­ma­tive data were col­lect­ed from 361 healthy adults age 50 to 79 who scored in the nor­mal range on a stan­dard­ized mea­sure of gen­er­al cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty. Par­tic­i­pants took the 20-minute on-line test on their home com­put­ers, and a sub­set of 288 par­tic­i­pants repeat­ed the test one week lat­er. Analy­ses of the indi­vid­ual tasks indi­cat­ed ade­quate inter­nal con­sis­ten­cy, con­struct valid­i­ty, test-retest reli­a­bil­i­ty, and alter­nate ver­sion reli­a­bil­i­ty. As expect­ed, scores were cor­re­lat­ed with age. The four tasks loaded on the same prin­ci­ple com­po­nent. Demo­graph­i­cal­ly-cor­rect­ed z‑scores from the indi­vid­ual tasks were com­bined to cre­ate an over­all score, which showed good reli­a­bil­i­ty and clas­si­fi­ca­tion con­sis­ten­cy. These results indi­cate the tool may be use­ful for iden­ti­fy­ing mid­dle-aged and old­er adults with low­er than expect­ed scores who may ben­e­fit from clin­i­cal eval­u­a­tion of their cog­ni­tion by a health care pro­fes­sion­al.”

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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