Navigation Links
New 'everyday cognition' scale tracks how older adults function in daily life
Date:6/30/2008

WASHINGTON As more adults age into the high-risk period for cognitive impairment, clinicians need simple and reliable methods to identify where they may have problems in everyday life that reveal underlying changes in the brain. A new, carefully validated questionnaire called Everyday Cognition (ECog), when filled out by someone who knows an older adult well, can sensitively evaluate the performance of everyday activities that reflect basic mental functioning, according to a report in the July issue of Neuropsychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

Keeping track of things, sorting the mail, following a conversation, shopping for a few things without a list, finding the car in a parking lot activities such as these, if compromised, could signal the risk for or presence of disease. The quick and easy identification of mild functional problems in older adults could be extremely useful in primary-care settings, where dementia and its early warning signs are frequently missed.

Seven academic and Veterans Administration psychologists, led by co-authors Sarah Tomaszewski Farias, PhD, and Dan Mungas, PhD, of the University of California, Davis, teamed up to develop and validate this new 39-question screening tool. The team first collected data on everyday functioning and mental status for 576 older adults, averaging nearly 77 years old, who were evaluated at the University of California's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. Of these individuals, 174 were diagnosed as cognitively normal, 126 were diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (which often develops into dementia), and 276 were diagnosed with dementia (progressive cognitive decline).

The authors also interviewed neurologists, nurses, neuropsychologists and other professionals who work with people with dementia. Building on their insights, Farias and her colleagues generated items describing everyday function in seven key cognitive domains: memory, language, semantic (factual) knowledge, visuospatial abilities, planning, organization and divided attention. Through pilot studies, they narrowed an initial list of 138 items to the 39 items used in the validation study.

To validate the instrument, the new rating scales were completed by reliable informants, people who lived with or knew the patients well. They knew them on average for nearly 45 years and were with them for an average of 75 hours a week. About half the informants were spouses; 41 percent were adult children; the rest were other family members or friends. The average informant was nearly 62 years old and nearly three in four were women.

The authors relied on informants rather than patients because people with dementia lose awareness of their problems. The authors also relied on observation by informants rather than by clinicians because performance assessments, such as watching someone make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, can be artificial and time-consuming. At the same time, the authors sought to improve on previous informant-based measures, which have been unable to detect mild impairment or track change over time a "must" for progressive disorders.

The ECog was shown to be valid in several ways. First, its results appeared to measure the same things as established tests, a sign of convergent validity. Second, its results "agreed" with participants' medical diagnoses, a sign of external validity.

By differentiating among people with normal cognition, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and dementia, the ECog was sensitive to the early functional changes present in MCI. Thus, the authors believe, the ECog shows great promise as a useful screening measure for detecting individuals at increased risk for developing dementia. What's more, its results do not appear to be strongly influenced by the role of education, as is the case in other cognitive tests.

The ECog's results even differentiated between people diagnosed with mild impairment in memory only and those mildly impaired in several areas. This sensitivity could help with differential diagnosis of underlying brain disease.

Because the ECog is sensitive to early functional problems, the researchers hope that it will shed light on how functional problems emerge and, over time, lead to obvious disability. More immediately, the ECog can help clinicians to diagnose cognitive impairment more effectively and to better understand the "limits, care needs and interventions appropriate to individuals." For example, making more lists, relying more on calendars and timers, learning memory techniques for new names, or organizing household papers in a new way might enable independent functioning for a longer length of time.


'/>"/>

Contact: Public Affairs Office
public.affairs@apa.org
202-336-5700
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Varenna Translates Resort Living Into Everyday Senior Living
2. Natural Solutions May Issue Illustrates Cocktail Effect of Everyday Toxins; Offers Tips to Reduce Toxic Load
3. Eat Well, Save Money: BJs Offers Everyday Low Prices on Top Quality Organic Groceries, Natural Foods Versus Supermarket Prices
4. 40 Million Americans Endure Anxiety Everyday
5. Electromagnetics in Everyday Life
6. Everyday Choices Can Influence Cancer Risk
7. CNN Honors Extraordinary Deeds of Seven Everyday People in Global Event
8. The Village Company Unveils Natural Bath and Body Solutions for Everyday Ailments
9. Finicky Felines Award Four Stars to New Wellness(R) Healthy Indulgence Everyday Entrees
10. Study uncovers how Ritalin works in brain to boost cognition, focus attention
11. American Dental Hygienists Association and Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. Unveil Honorees of Inaugural HYGIENIST HERO(TM) Recognition Program
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due ... up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away ... a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department ... in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at ... Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts ... upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife ... and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’ ... 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the same rate as the median ... floor does not erode again, and make future increases more predictable. , The company is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Strategic Capital Partners, LLC ... by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has delivered investment ... resulted in more than a million dollars of capital investment for five companies. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report to ... report contains up to date financial data derived from varied ... major trends with potential impact on the market during the ... segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional and country level ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... 52" report to their offering. ... creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. The ... that will serve to drive considerable growth for effective anti-influenza ... to cap sales considerably, but development is still in its ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 , , , WHEN: ... 2016 , , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, ... , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global ... Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager ... pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: