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1.  The utility of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (Chinese version) for screening dementia and mild cognitive impairment in a Chinese population 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:136.
The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) has been validated for detecting dementia in English-speaking populations. However, no studies have examined the Chinese version of the HVLT scale, and appropriate cut-off scores for dementia in the Chinese population remain unclear.
631 subjects aged 60 and over were recruited at a memory clinic at Dongzhimen Hospital in Beijing. Of these, 249 were classified as exhibiting normal cognition (NC), 134 were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 97 were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), 14 met the diagnosis for vascular dementia (VaD), and 50 were diagnosed with other types of dementia, including mixed dementia. The discriminative capacity of the HVLT total learning score, recognition score and total score were calculated to determine their sensitivity and specificity for detecting MCI, AD and other dementias, and various cut-off scores.
HVLT scores were affected by age, education and sex. The HVLT total learning score exhibited an optimal balance between sensitivity and specificity using a cut-off score of 15.5 for distinguishing AD and other types of dementia from NC using the ROC curve, with sensitivity of 94.7% for distinguishing AD and all types of dementia, and specificity of 92.5% for detecting AD and 93.4% for detecting all types of dementias. We stratified the AD and MCI groups by age, and calculated the validity in each age group. In the 50–64 years age group, when the cutoff score was 18.5, the sensitivity of 0.955 and specificity of 0.921 were obtained for discriminating the NC and AD groups, and in the 65–80 years group, and optimal sensitivity and specificity values (0.948 and 0.925, respectively) were obtained with a cutoff score of 14.5.
When the cutoff score was 21.5 in HVLT total recall, an optimal balance was obtained between sensitivity and specificity (69.1% and 70.7%, respectively) in distinguishing MCI from NC.
A cut-off score of 15.5 in the HVLT total learning score led to high discriminative capacity between the dementia and NC groups. This suggests that the HVLT total learning score can provide a useful tool for discriminating dementia, but not MCI, from NC in clinical and epidemiological practice.
PMCID: PMC3551776  PMID: 23130844
Alzheimer’s dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; Hopkins verbal learning test; Screening test
2.  Review of brief cognitive tests for patients with suspected dementia 
International Psychogeriatrics / Ipa  2014;26(8):1247-1262.
As the population ages, it is increasingly important to use effective short cognitive tests for suspected dementia. We aimed to review systematically brief cognitive tests for suspected dementia and report on their validation in different settings, to help clinicians choose rapid and appropriate tests.
Electronic search for face-to-face sensitive and specific cognitive tests for people with suspected dementia, taking ≤ 20 minutes, providing quantitative psychometric data.
22 tests fitted criteria. Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) had good psychometric properties in primary care. In the secondary care settings, MMSE has considerable data but lacks sensitivity. 6-Item Cognitive Impairment Test (6CIT), Brief Alzheimer's Screen, HVLT, and 7 Minute Screen have good properties for detecting dementia but need further validation. Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (ACE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment are effective to detect dementia with Parkinson's disease and Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination-Revised (ACE-R) is useful for all dementias when shorter tests are inconclusive. Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment scale (RUDAS) is useful when literacy is low. Tests such as Test for Early Detection of Dementia, Test Your Memory, Cognitive Assessment Screening Test (CAST) and the recently developed ACE-III show promise but need validation in different settings, populations, and dementia subtypes. Validation of tests such as 6CIT, Abbreviated Mental Test is also needed for dementia screening in acute hospital settings.
Practitioners should use tests as appropriate to the setting and individual patient. More validation of available tests is needed rather than development of new ones.
PMCID: PMC4071993  PMID: 24685119
Dementia; brief cognitive tests; cognitive screen; cognitive screening tests
3.  Detecting Cognitive Impairment in Individuals at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: The ‘Clock-in-the-Box’ Screening Test 
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance on the Clock-in-the-Box (CIB), a screening measure for cognitive function, relative to neuropsychological testing in an older population with cardiovascular risk.
A prospective cohort of older patients (>50 years) with cardiovascular risk were recruited to perform the CIB and complete a brief neuropsychological battery consisting of Trailmaking tests, the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT), and fluency tasks. Performance on the CIB was scored according to standard criteria (range 0-8, 0-worst). The performance on the total CIB, working memory subscale (CIB-WM), and planning/ organization (COB-PO) were compared to neuropsychological measures.
The cohort (n=127) was older (age 67±7 years) and diverse with 33% female (n=42) and 42% non-white race (n=53). Cardiac risk factors were prevalent: hypertension (83%), hyperlipidemia (74%), overweight (84%), diabetes (48%), prior cardiac disease (39%), and smoking (11%). The CIB (mean 6.5±1.3) took 84±21 seconds on average to complete and had good inter-rater reliability (κ=.809, p<.01). The CIB-WM subscale was significantly correlated with performance on Trailmaking B and HVLT learning, recall, and recognition. The CIB-PO subscale was significantly associated with semantic and phonemic fluency, Trailmaking B, and HVLT learning and recall. In regression modeling, CIB-WM significantly predicted performance on HVLT learning, recall, and retention. CIB-PO subscale predicted performance on Trailmaking B, HVLT learning, and HVLT recall.
The CIB is a brief cognitive screening instrument with good reliability and predictive validity in a CV risk population. The CIB-WM and CIB-PO subscales could provide utility for clinicians.
PMCID: PMC3110989  PMID: 21845599
clock drawing; cognitive screening; cardiovascular; executive function; memory
4.  Distinctive cognitive profiles in Alzheimer's disease and subcortical vascular dementia 
Background: There are inconsistencies in published reports regarding the profile of cognitive impairments in vascular dementia, and its differentiation from Alzheimer's disease.
Objectives: To identify the overall profile of cognitive impairment in subcortical vascular dementia as compared with Alzheimer's disease; and the tests which best discriminate between these groups.
Methods: 57 subjects participated: 19 with subcortical vascular dementia, 19 with Alzheimer's disease, and 19 controls. The dementia groups were matched for age, education, and general levels of cognitive and everyday functioning. Subcortical vascular dementia was defined by clinical features (prominent vascular risk factors plus a previous history of transient ischaemic events or focal neurological signs) and substantial white matter pathology on magnetic resonance imaging. All subjects were given a battery of 33 tests assessing episodic and semantic memory, executive/attentional functioning, and visuospatial and perceptual skills.
Results: Despite a minimal degree of overall dementia, both patient groups had impairments in all cognitive domains. The Alzheimer patients were more impaired than those with vascular dementia on episodic memory, while the patients with vascular dementia were more impaired on semantic memory, executive/attentional functioning, and visuospatial and perceptual skills. Logistic regression analyses showed that the two groups could be discriminated with 89% accuracy on the basis of two tests, the WAIS logical memory – delayed recall test and a silhouette naming test.
Conclusions: Subcortical vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease produce distinctive profiles of cognitive impairment which can act as an adjunct to diagnosis. Many of the neuropsychological deficits thought to characterise Alzheimer's disease are also found in subcortical vascular dementia.
PMCID: PMC1757469  PMID: 14707310
5.  Modeling Learning and Memory Using Verbal Learning Tests: Results From ACTIVE 
To investigate the influence of memory training on initial recall and learning.
The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study of community-dwelling adults older than age 65 (n = 1,401). We decomposed trial-level recall in the Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT) and Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) into initial recall and learning across trials using latent growth models.
Trial-level increases in words recalled in the AVLT and HVLT at each follow-up visit followed an approximately logarithmic shape. Over the 5-year study period, memory training was associated with slower decline in Trial 1 AVLT recall (Cohen’s d = 0.35, p = .03) and steep pre- and posttraining acceleration in learning (d = 1.56, p < .001). Findings were replicated using the HVLT (decline in initial recall, d = 0.60, p = .01; pre- and posttraining acceleration in learning, d = 3.10, p < .001). Because of the immediate training boost, the memory-trained group had a higher level of recall than the control group through the end of the 5-year study period despite faster decline in learning.
This study contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms by which training benefits memory and expands current knowledge by reporting long-term changes in initial recall and learning, as measured from growth models and by characterization of the impact of memory training on these components. Results reveal that memory training delays the worsening of memory span and boosts learning.
PMCID: PMC3693605  PMID: 22929389
AVLT; Growth modeling; HVLT; Memory training; Older adults
6.  Differentiating between visual hallucination-free dementia with Lewy bodies and corticobasal syndrome on the basis of neuropsychology and perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography 
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Corticobasal Syndrome (CBS) are atypical parkinsonian disorders with fronto-subcortical and posterior cognitive dysfunction as common features. While visual hallucinations are a good predictor of Lewy body pathology and are rare in CBS, they are not exhibited in all cases of DLB. Given the clinical overlap between these disorders, neuropsychological and imaging markers may aid in distinguishing these entities.
Prospectively recruited case–control cohorts of CBS (n =31) and visual hallucination-free DLB (n =30), completed neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric measures as well as brain perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Perfusion data were available for forty-two controls. Behavioural, perfusion, and cortical volume and thickness measures were compared between the groups to identify features that serve to differentiate them.
The Lewy body with no hallucinations group performed more poorly on measures of episodic memory compared to the corticobasal group, including the delayed and cued recall portions of the California Verbal Learning Test (F (1, 42) =23.1, P <0.001 and F (1, 42) =14.0, P =0.001 respectively) and the delayed visual reproduction of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (F (1, 36) =9.7, P =0.004). The Lewy body group also demonstrated reduced perfusion in the left occipital pole compared to the corticobasal group (F (1,57) =7.4, P =0.009). At autopsy, the Lewy body cases all demonstrated mixed dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer’s disease and small vessel arteriosclerosis, while the corticobasal cases demonstrated classical corticobasal degeneration in five, dementia with agyrophilic grains + corticobasal degeneration + cerebral amyloid angiopathy in one, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy in two, and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration-Ubiquitin/TAR DNA-binding protein 43 proteinopathy in one. MRI measures were not significantly different between the patient groups.
Reduced perfusion in the left occipital region and worse episodic memory performance may help to distinguish between DLB cases who have never manifested with visual hallucinations and CBS at earlier stages of the disease. Development of reliable neuropsychological and imaging markers that improve diagnostic accuracy will become increasingly important as disease modifying therapies become available.
PMCID: PMC4256921  PMID: 25484929
7.  Mild cognitive impairment in prediagnosed Huntington disease(e–Pub ahead of print) 
Neurology  2010;75(6):500-507.
Cognitive decline has been reported in Huntington disease (HD), as well as in the period before diagnosis of motor symptoms (i.e., pre-HD). However, the severity, frequency, and characterization of cognitive difficulties have not been well-described. Applying similar cutoffs to those used in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) research, the current study examined the rates of subtle cognitive dysfunction (e.g., dysfunction that does not meet criteria for dementia) in pre-HD.
Using baseline data from 160 non–gene-expanded comparison participants, normative data were established for cognitive tests of episodic memory, processing speed, executive functioning, and visuospatial perception. Cutoff scores at 1.5 standard deviations below the mean of the comparison group were then applied to 575 gene-expanded pre-HD participants from the observational study, PREDICT-HD, who were stratified by motor signs and genetic risk for HD.
Nearly 40% of pre-HD individuals met criteria for MCI, and individuals closer to HD diagnosis had higher rates of MCI. Nonamnestic MCI was more common than amnestic MCI. Single-domain MCI was more common than multiple-domain MCI. Within the nonamnestic single-domain subtype, impairments in processing speed were most frequent.
Consistent with the Alzheimer disease literature, MCI as a prodromal period is a valid concept in pre-HD, with nearly 40% of individuals showing this level of impairment before diagnosis. Future studies should examine the utility of MCI as a marker of cognitive decline in pre-HD.
= Alzheimer disease;
= Benton Facial Recognition Test;
= Diagnostic Confidence Level;
= Huntington disease;
= Hopkins Verbal Learning Test–Revised;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= Parkinson disease;
= Stroop Color Word Test;
= Symbol Digit Modalities Test;
= Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale.
PMCID: PMC2918475  PMID: 20610833
8.  Validity of the MoCA and MMSE in the detection of MCI and dementia in Parkinson disease 
Neurology  2009;73(21):1738-1745.
Due to the high prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia in Parkinson disease (PD), routine cognitive screening is important for the optimal management of patients with PD. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is more sensitive than the commonly used Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in detecting MCI and dementia in patients without PD, but its validity in PD has not been established.
A representative sample of 132 patients with PD at 2 movement disorders centers was administered the MoCA, MMSE, and a neuropsychological battery with operationalized criteria for deficits. MCI and PD dementia (PDD) criteria were applied by an investigator blinded to the MoCA and MMSE results. The discriminant validity of the MoCA and MMSE as screening and diagnostic instruments was ascertained.
Approximately one third of the sample met diagnostic criteria for a cognitive disorder (12.9% PDD and 17.4% MCI). Mean (SD) MoCA and MMSE scores were 25.0 (3.8) and 28.1 (2.0). The overall discriminant validity for detection of any cognitive disorder was similar for the MoCA and the MMSE (receiver operating characteristic area under the curve [95% confidence interval]): MoCA (0.79 [0.72, 0.87]) and MMSE (0.76 [0.67, 0.85]), but as a screening instrument the MoCA (optimal cutoff point = 26/27, 64% correctly diagnosed, lack of ceiling effect) was superior to the MMSE (optimal cutoff point = 29/30, 54% correctly diagnosed, presence of ceiling effect).
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment, but not the Mini-Mental State Examination, has adequate psychometric properties as a screening instrument for the detection of mild cognitive impairment or dementia in Parkinson disease. However, a positive screen using either instrument requires additional assessment due to suboptimal specificity at the recommended screening cutoff point.
= Alzheimer disease;
= area under the curve;
= deep brain stimulation;
= Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition;
= Geriatric Depression Scale;
= Hopkins Verbal Learning Test;
= instrumental activities of daily living;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= Montreal Cognitive Assessment;
= negative predictive value;
= Parkinson disease;
= Parkinson disease dementia;
= positive predictive value;
= quality of life;
= receiver operating characteristic;
= Tower of London-Drexel;
= Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale.
PMCID: PMC2788810  PMID: 19933974
9.  Effect of Anticholinergic Use for the Treatment of Overactive Bladder on Cognitive Function in Post-Menopausal Women 
Clinical drug investigation  2012;32(10):697-705.
Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition affecting the elderly. The mainstay of treatment for OAB is medical therapy with anticholinergics. However, adverse events have been reported with this class of drugs including cognitive changes.
To investigate the effect of an anticholinergic medication on cognitive function in postmenopausal women being treated for OAB.
Study Design
Prospective cohort study conducted from January to December 2010, with 12-week follow-up after medication initiation.
Urogynecology clinic at one academic medical center.
Women age 55 or older seeking treatment for OAB and opting for anticholinergic therapy were recruited.
Baseline cognitive function was assessed via the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test – Revised Form (HVLT-R) (and its 5 subscales), the Orientation, Memory & Concentration (OMC) short form, and the Mini-Cog evaluation. After initiation of trospium chloride extended release, cognitive function was reassessed at Day 1, Week 1, Week 4 and Week 12. Bladder function was assessed via three condition-specific quality of life questionnaires. Secondary outcomes included change in bladder symptoms, correlation between cognitive and bladder symptoms, and overall medication compliance.
Main Outcome Measure
Change in HVLT-R score at Week 4 after medication initiation, compared to baseline (pre-medication) score.
Of 50 women enrolled, 35 completed the assessment. Average age was 70.4 years and 77.1% had previously taken anticholinergic medication for OAB. At enrollment 65.7% had severe overactive bladder and 71.4% had severe urge incontinence. Cognitive function showed an initial decline on Day 1 in HVLT-R total score (p=0.037), HVLT-R Delayed Recognition subscale (p=0.011) and HVLT-R Recognition Bias subscale (p=0.01). At Week 1 the HVLT-R Learning subscale declined from baseline (p=0.029). All HVLT-R scores normalized by Week 4. OMC remained stable throughout. The Mini-Cog nadired at a 90.9% pass rate at Week 4. OAB symptoms did not improve until Week 4, based on questionnaire scores (p<0.05).
Cognitive function exhibited early changes after initiation of trospium chloride but normalized within four weeks. Cognitive changes occurred weeks prior to OAB symptom improvement. Surveillance for cognitive changes with anticholinergic use should be part of OAB management.
PMCID: PMC3572901  PMID: 22873491
Anticholinergic; Cognitive Function; Elderly; Overactive Bladder
10.  Word List Memory Predicts Everyday Function and Problem-Solving in the Elderly: Results from the ACTIVE Cognitive Intervention Trial 
Data from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial (N=2,802) were analyzed to examine whether word list learning predicts future everyday functioning. Using stepwise random effects modeling, measures from the modified administrations of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) and the Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT) were independently predictive of everyday IADL functioning, problem-solving, and psychomotor speed. Associations between memory scores and everyday functioning outcomes remained significant across follow-up intervals spanning five years. HVLT total recall score was consistently the strongest predictor of each functional outcome. Results suggest that verbal memory measures are uniquely associated with both current and future functioning and that specific verbal memory tests like the HVLT and AVLT have important clinical utility in predicting future functional ability among older adults.
PMCID: PMC3265385  PMID: 21069610
functional ability; HVLT; AVLT; verbal memory
11.  Semantic Organizational Strategy Predicts Verbal Memory and Remission Rate of Geriatric Depression 
This study tests the hypothesis that the use of a semantic organizational strategy, during the free recall phase of a verbal memory task predicts remission of geriatric depression.
65 elderly patients with major depression participated in a 12-week escitalopram treatment trial. Neuropsychological performance was assessed at baseline after a 2-week drug washout period. The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R)(Brandt 2001) was used to assess verbal learning and memory. Remission was defined as a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale Score (HDRS) less than or equal to 7 for two consecutive weeks and no longer meeting DSM-IV-TR criteria for major depression. The association between the number of clusters used at the final learning trial (Trial 3) and remission was examined using Cox’s proportional hazards survival analysis. The relationship between the number of clusters utilized in the final learning trial and words recalled after a 25 minute delay was examined in a regression with age and education as covariates.
Greater number of clusters utilized predicted remission rate (Hazard ratio (95% CI) = 1.26 (1.04–1.54), χ2 =4.23, df=3, p=0.04). There was a positive relationship between the total number of clusters used by the end of the third learning trial and the total number of words recalled at the delayed recall trial (F(3,58)=7.93;p<.001)
Effective semantic strategy use at baseline on a verbal list learning task by elderly depressed patients was associated with greater rate of remission with antidepressant treatment. This result provides support for previous findings indicating that measures of executive functioning at baseline are useful in predicting antidepressant response.
PMCID: PMC3188360  PMID: 21618287
Executive function; geriatric; depression; remission; semantic strategy; Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT)
12.  Cognitive Profile of Elderly Patients with Mild Stroke 
A pattern characterizing cognitive deficits in mild stroke could help in differential diagnosis and rehabilitation planning.
Fifty patients with mild stroke (modified Rankin scale ≤2 at discharge) aged >60 years were given the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R) and the Stroop test.
On HVLT-R, significant impairments were found in learning and recall, but not in delayed recall. The Stroop test revealed significant impairments in reading speed, but not in color-word interference. Using the MMSE, significant deficits were only found in the youngest age group.
Elderly patients with mild stroke show deficits in verbal learning/recall and in reading speed, but not in the MMSE, delayed recall or color-word interference. The deficits are consistent with a mild-to-moderate brain dysfunction, with relative sparing of medial brain structures.
PMCID: PMC3243639  PMID: 22187548
Color-word interference; Learning; Memory; Mental state; Mild stroke
13.  Impaired verbal memory in Parkinson disease: relationship to prefrontal dysfunction and somatosensory discrimination 
To study the neurocognitive profile and its relationship to prefrontal dysfunction in non-demented Parkinson's disease (PD) with deficient haptic perception.
Twelve right-handed patients with PD and 12 healthy control subjects underwent thorough neuropsychological testing including Rey complex figure, Rey auditory verbal and figural learning test, figural and verbal fluency, and Stroop test. Test scores reflecting significant differences between patients and healthy subjects were correlated with the individual expression coefficients of one principal component, obtained in a principal component analysis of an oxygen-15-labeled water PET study exploring somatosensory discrimination that differentiated between the two groups and involved prefrontal cortices.
We found significantly decreased total scores for the verbal learning trials and verbal delayed free recall in PD patients compared with normal volunteers. Further analysis of these parameters using Spearman's ranking correlation showed a significantly negative correlation of deficient verbal recall with expression coefficients of the principal component whose image showed a subcortical-cortical network, including right dorsolateral-prefrontal cortex, in PD patients.
PD patients with disrupted right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex function and associated diminished somatosensory discrimination are impaired also in verbal memory functions. A negative correlation between delayed verbal free recall and PET activation in a network including the prefrontal cortices suggests that verbal cues and accordingly declarative memory processes may be operative in PD during activities that demand sustained attention such as somatosensory discrimination. Verbal cues may be compensatory in nature and help to non-specifically enhance focused attention in the presence of a functionally disrupted prefrontal cortex.
PMCID: PMC2805678  PMID: 20003499
14.  The Case for Testing Memory with Both Stories and Word Lists Prior to DBS Surgery for Parkinson’s Disease 
The Clinical neuropsychologist  2011;25(3):348-358.
Patients seeking deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery for Parkinson’s disease (PD) typically undergo neuropsychological assessment to determine candidacy for surgery, with poor memory performance interpreted as a contraindication. Patients with PD may exhibit worse memory for word lists than for stories due to the lack of inherent organization in a list of unrelated words. Unfortunately, word list and story tasks are typically developed from different normative datasets, and the existence of a memory performance discrepancy in PD has been challenged. We compared recall of stories and word lists in 35 non-demented PD candidates for DBS. We administered commonly-used neuropsychological measures of word list and story memory (Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, Logical Memory), along with a second word list task that was co-normed with the story task. Age-corrected scores were higher for the story task than for both word list tasks. Compared to story recall, word list recall correlated more consistently with motor severity and composite measures of processing speed, working memory, and executive functioning. These results support the classic view of fronto-subcortical contributions to memory in PD and suggest that executive deficits may influence word list recall more than story recall. We recommend a multi-componential memory battery in the neuropsychological assessment of DBS candidates to characterize both mesial temporal and frontal-executive memory processes. One should not rely solely on a word list task because patients exhibiting poor memory for word lists may perform better with stories and therefore deserve an interdisciplinary discussion for DBS surgery.
PMCID: PMC3077807  PMID: 21491347
15.  Computerized Maze Navigation and On-Road Performance by Drivers With Dementia 
This study examined the ability of computerized maze test performance to predict the road test performance of cognitively impaired and normal older drivers. The authors examined 133 older drivers, including 65 with probable Alzheimer disease, 23 with possible Alzheimer disease, and 45 control subjects without cognitive impairment. Subjects completed 5 computerized maze tasks employing a touch screen and pointer as well as a battery of standard neuropsychological tests. Parameters measured for mazes included errors, planning time, drawing time, and total time. Within 2 weeks, subjects were examined by a professional driving instructor on a standardized road test modeled after the Washington University Road Test. Road test total score was significantly correlated with total time across the 5 mazes. This maze score was significant for both Alzheimer disease subjects and control subjects. One maze in particular, requiring less than 2 minutes to complete, was highly correlated with driving performance. For the standard neuropsychological tests, highest correlations were seen with Trail Making A (TrailsA) and the Hopkins Verbal Learning Tests Trial 1 (HVLT1). Multiple regression models for road test score using stepwise subtraction of maze and neuropsychological test variables revealed significant independent contributions for total maze time, HVLT1, and TrailsA for the entire group; total maze time and HVLT1 for Alzheimer disease subjects; and TrailsA for normal subjects. As a visual analog of driving, a brief computerized test of maze navigation time compares well to standard neuropsychological tests of psychomotor speed, scanning, attention, and working memory as a predictor of driving performance by persons with early Alzheimer disease and normal elders. Measurement of maze task performance appears to be useful in the assessment of older drivers at risk for hazardous driving.
PMCID: PMC3292182  PMID: 18287166
driving; dementia; mild cognitive impairment; maze; computerized assessment
16.  Validity of Brief Screening Tools for Cognitive Impairment in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis care & research  2012;64(3):448-454.
To determine the validity of standardized screening assessments of cognitive functioning to detect neuropsychological impairment evaluated using a comprehensive battery in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This is a cross-sectional study using a combined cohort of 139 persons with SLE and 82 persons with RA. Screening cut points were empirically derived using receiver operating characteristic curves and threshold selection methods. Screening measures included the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R) learning and delayed recall indices and phonemic fluency, a composite measure of the 3 cognitive screening tests, and the Perceived Deficits Questionnaire-Short Form (PDQ-SF), a self-report measure of cognitive symptoms. A comprehensive neuropsychological battery was administered as the “gold standard” index of neuropsychological impairment.
Rates of neuropsychological impairment were 27% and 15% for the SLE and RA cohorts, respectively. Optimal threshold estimations were derived for 5 screening techniques. The HVLT-R learning and phonemic fluency indices yielded the greatest sensitivity at 81%. The PDQ-SF yielded the lowest sensitivity at 52%. All measures were significantly associated with neuropsychological impairment after controlling for relevant sociodemographic covariates and depression.
These results suggest that telephone-administered screening techniques may be useful measures to identify persons with neuropsychological impairment. Specifically, measures of phonemic fluency and verbal learning appeared to be most sensitive and least likely to misclassify impaired individuals as cognitively intact. Self-reported questionnaires may have relatively decreased sensitivity compared to standardized interviewer-administered cognitive measures.
PMCID: PMC3705711  PMID: 22162414
17.  Comparison of executive and visuospatial memory function in Huntington's disease and dementia of Alzheimer type matched for degree of dementia. 
Groups of patients with Hungington's disease and probable dementia of Alzheimer type (DAT) matched for level of dementia on the basis of mini mental state examination scores were compared in several tests of visual memory and tests sensitive to frontal lobe dysfunction. Whereas recall of patients with DAT tended to be worse on the Kendrick object learning test, the two groups were equivalent on tests of sensorimotor ability and delayed matching to sample performance. By contrast, the patients with Huntington's disease were significantly worse on tests of pattern and spatial recognition, simultaneous matching to sample, visuospatial paired associates, and on three tests sensitive to frontal lobe dysfunction--namely, the Tower of London test of planning, spatial working memory, and a visual discrimination learning and reversal paradigm. The impairments in these tests, however, did not always qualitatively resemble those seen in patients with frontal lobe damage and may be more characteristic of primary neostriatal deficit. In the visual discrimination paradigm the patients with Hungtington's disease were significantly worse than the patients with DAT at the simple reversal stage, where they displayed significant preservation to the previously rewarded alternative. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that patients with Huntington's disease exhibit deficits in tests sensitive to frontostriatal dysfunction and that this form of intellectual deterioration is qualitatively distinct from that seen in Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC1073493  PMID: 7745410
18.  Individual Subject Classification of Mixed Dementia from Pure Subcortical Vascular Dementia Based on Subcortical Shape Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75602.
Subcortical vascular dementia (SVaD), one of common causes of dementia, has concomitant Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology in over 30%, termed “mixed dementia”. Identifying mixed dementia from SVaD is important because potential amyloid-targeted therapies may be effective for treatment in mixed dementia. The purpose of this study was to discriminate mixed dementia from pure SVaD using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We measured brain amyloid deposition using the 11C-Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography (PiB-PET) in 68 patients with SVaD. A PiB retention ratio greater than 1.5 was considered PiB(+). Hippocampal and amygdalar shape were used in the incremental learning method to discriminate mixed dementia from pure SVaD because these structures are known to be prominently involved by AD pathologies. Among 68 patients, 23 (33.8%) patients were positive for PiB binding. With use of hippocampal shape analysis alone, PiB(+) SVaD could be discriminated from PiB(-) SVaD with 77.9% accuracy (95.7% sensitivity and 68.9% specificity). With use of amygdalar shape, the discrimination accuracy was 75.0% (87.0% sensitivity and 68.9% specificity). When hippocampal and amygdalar shape were analyzed together, accuracy increased to 82.4% (95.7% sensitivity and 75.6% specificity). An incremental learning method using hippocampal and amygdalar shape distinguishes mixed dementia from pure SVaD. Furthermore, our results suggest that amyloid pathology and vascular pathology have different effects on the shape of the hippocampus and amygdala.
PMCID: PMC3794958  PMID: 24130724
19.  The Diagnostic Value of Controlled Oral Word Association Test-FAS and Category Fluency in Single-Domain Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment 
Recent studies have shown that decreases in both letter fluency and category fluency may be present in addition to memory impairment in single-domain amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). However, the clinical utility of these fluency measures is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine what, if any, diagnostic value letter and category fluency provide in differentiating single-domain aMCI from normal cognition.
Data from 66 individuals [33 cognitively normal (CN) and 33 aMCI] between the ages of 66 and 87 years participating in the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center were compared on the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT)-FAS and Category Fluency test, both in terms of raw and scaled scores.
Participants were matched on age, education and sex. Two-tailed independent sample t-tests found statistically significant differences between the CN and aMCI groups for both raw and scaled scores of COWAT-FAS and Category Fluency (p < 0.001). Logistic regression analyses found that COWAT-FAS and Category Fluency did not significantly improve diagnostic accuracy when combined with the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised delayed recall.
Although decreased COWAT-FAS and Category Fluency performance may be present in single-domain aMCI, these tests do not improve the ability of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised delayed recall to differentiate aMCI from CN individuals.
PMCID: PMC3250647  PMID: 22156335
Prodromal Alzheimer's disease; Alzheimer's disease; Dementia; Neuropsychology; Mild cognitive impairment; Verbal fluency
20.  Anemia and 9-Year Domain-Specific Cognitive Decline in Community-Dwelling Older Women: The Women’s Health and Aging Study II 
To test the hypothesis that anemia (hemoglobin <12 g/dL) is associated with a faster rate of 9-year cognitive decline in a community-dwelling sample of women aged 70-80 years at baseline.
A population-based, prospective cohort study
East Baltimore, Maryland
436 women sampled to be representative of the 2/3 least disabled women in, aged 70-80 years at baseline (1994-1996).
9-year trajectories of cognitive decline, analyzed with linear random effects models, in the domains of immediate verbal recall, delayed verbal recall, psychomotor speed, and executive function.
At baseline and after adjustment for demographic and disease covariates, women with anemia were slower to complete a test of executive function than women without anemia by - 0.43 SD (95% CI: −0.74, −0.13) on the Trail Making Test, Part B (TMTB). During follow-up, anemia was associated with a faster rate of decline in memory. Between baseline and year 3, women with anemia declined at a rate of 0.18 more SD/year (95% CI: −0.29, −0.06) than women without anemia on the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) and by .0.15 more SD/year (95% CI: −0.26. −0.04) on the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Delayed (HVLT-Delayed).
Anemia was associated with poorer baseline performance on a test of executive function and with faster rates of decline on tests of immediate and delayed verbal recall. If this relationship is causal, it is possible that treatment of anemia could prevent or postpone cognitive decline.
PMCID: PMC3560911  PMID: 19682133
anemia; elderly; executive function; longitudinal study; memory
21.  A Novel Operant Testing Regimen for Multi-Construct Cognitive Characterization of a Murine Model of Alzheimer's Amyloid-Related Behavioral Impairment 
A common method for modeling pathological and behavioral aspects of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the transgenic mouse. While transgenic strains are often well characterized pathologically, behavioral studies of cognitive deficits often employ a limited set of aversively motivated, spatial learning and memory tests, under brief testing periods. Here we illustrate an alternative operant behavioral methodology to provide a comprehensive characterization under repetitive testing conditions, and with appetitive motivation. In this study, we employed the commonly used Tg2576 murine model of Alzheimer's disease amyloid pathology, since it has been the subject of many previous behavioral studies. In these mice, we compared the learning of simple and complex, as well as spatial and non-spatial rules. The mice were assessed on a progressively more complex and interlocking battery of operant tasks, ranging from simple rule learning to delayed recall, as well as tests of motor and sensory ability. In general, as compared to wild type control mice, within-group variability was high in the Tg2576 mice, and deficits were most apparent in more complex discrimination tasks. Furthermore, a consistent decrease in the rate at which Tg2576 mice completed testing trials was observed, pointing to a potential motivation difference or speed-accuracy tradeoffs as a defining characteristic of this strain under these test conditions. Using sensitive adjusting retention interval procedures, it was also possible to isolate a difference in retention interval and separate it from non-mnemonic processes. Overall, these experiments demonstrate the utility of this novel operant approach for characterizing the cognitive deficits of transgenic murine models of dementia.
PMCID: PMC3190035  PMID: 21763776
Learning; Memory; Operant; Tg2576; Transgenic
22.  Verbal Learning and Memory in Patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies or Parkinson's Disease with Dementia 
This study compared verbal learning and memory in patients with autopsy-confirmed dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and patients with Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD). Twenty-four DLB patients, 24 PDD patients, and 24 normal comparison participants were administered the California Verbal Learning Test. The three groups were matched on demographic variables and the two patient groups were matched on the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. The results indicated that DLB patients recalled less information than PDD patients on all but one recall measure and displayed a more rapid rate of forgetting. In contrast, the PDD patients committed a greater percent of perseveration errors than the DLB patients. The two groups did not differ in the percentage of recall intrusion errors or any measures of recognition. A discriminant function analysis (DFA) using short delay cued recall, percent perseveration errors, and list b recall, differentiated the DLB and PDD groups with 81.3% accuracy. The application of the DFA algorithm to another sample of 42 PDD patients resulted in a 78.6% correct classification rate. The results suggest that, despite equivalent levels of general cognitive impairment, patients with DLB or PDD exhibit a different pattern of verbal learning and memory deficits.
PMCID: PMC2935683  PMID: 19221922
23.  Phase III Trial of Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation Compared With Observation in Patients With Locally Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Neurocognitive and Quality-of-Life Analysis 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;29(3):279-286.
There are scant data regarding the effects of prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) on neurocognitive function (NCF) and quality of life (QOL). Radiation Therapy Oncology Group trial 0214 showed no overall survival (OS) benefit for PCI in stage III non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at 1 year. However, there was a significant decrease in brain metastases (BM). This analysis focuses on the impact of PCI on NCF and QOL.
Patients and Methods
Patients with stage III NSCLC who completed definitive therapy without progression were randomly assigned to PCI or observation. NCF was assessed with Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), Activities of Daily Living Scale (ADLS), and Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT). QOL was assessed with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) core tool (QOL Questionnaire-QLQC30) and brain module (QLQBN20).
There were no statistically significant differences at 1 year between the two arms in any component of the EORTC-QLQC30 or QLQBN20 (P > .05), although a trend for greater decline in patient-reported cognitive functioning with PCI was noted. There were no significant differences in MMSE (P = .60) or ADLS (P = .88). However, for HVLT, there was greater decline in immediate recall (P = .03) and delayed recall (P = .008) in the PCI arm at 1 year.
PCI in stage III NSCLC significantly decreases the risk of BM without improving 1-year OS. There were no significant differences in global cognitive function (MMSE) or QOL after PCI, but there was a significant decline in memory (HVLT) at 1 year. This study provides prospective data regarding the relative risks and benefits of PCI in this setting and the need to use sensitive cognitive assessments.
PMCID: PMC3056463  PMID: 21135267
24.  Longitudinal cognitive decline is associated with fibrillar amyloid-beta measured by [11C]PiB 
Neurology  2010;74(10):807-815.
To investigate whether longitudinal declines in cognition are associated with higher fibrillar amyloid-beta (Aβ) deposition in vivo in individuals without dementia.
[11C]PiB images were obtained to measure fibrillar Aβ burden in 57 participants without dementia from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Participants (33 men, 24 women) had a mean (SD) age of 78.7 (6.2) years. Six participants (4 men, 2 women) had mild cognitive impairment defined as Clinical Dementia Rating = 0.5. To measure [11C]PiB retention, distribution volume ratios (DVR) for 15 regions of interest were estimated by fitting a simplified reference tissue model to the measured time activity curves. Mixed effects regression was used to predict cognitive trajectories over time using data before and including time of PiB (mean follow-up 10.8 years), with mean cortical DVR, age at baseline, sex, and education as independent predictors. Voxel-based analysis identified local associations.
[11C]PiB retention was higher in older individuals. Greater declines over time in mental status and verbal learning and memory, but not visual memory, were associated significantly with higher PiB retention. Voxel-based analysis showed significant associations in frontal and lateral temporal regions.
Higher Aβ deposition is associated with greater longitudinal decline in mental status and verbal memory in the preceding years. The differential association for verbal but not visual memory may reflect the greater reliance of verbal word list learning on prefrontal regions, which show early Aβ deposition. Prospective imaging may help distinguish between individuals with evolving neuropathology who develop accelerated cognitive decline vs those with normal aging.
= Alzheimer disease;
= Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging;
= Benton Visual Retention Test;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= California Verbal Learning Test;
= distribution volume ratio;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= regions of interest.
PMCID: PMC2839197  PMID: 20147655
25.  Detection of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in the preclinical phase: population based cohort study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7383):245.
To evaluate a simple three step procedure to identify people in the general population who are in the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Three year population based cohort study.
Kungsholmen cohort, Stockholm, Sweden.
1435 people aged 75-95 years without dementia.
Single question asking about memory complaints, assessment by mini-mental state examination, and neuropsychological testing.
Main outcome measure
Alzheimer's disease and dementia at three year follow up.
None of the three instruments was sufficiently predictive of Alzheimer's disease and dementia when administered separately. After participants had been screened for memory complaints and global cognitive impairment, specific tests of word recall and verbal fluency had positive predictive values for dementia of 85-100% (95% confidence intervals range from 62% to 100%). However, only 18% of future dementia cases were identified in the preclinical phase by this three step procedure. Memory complaints were the most sensitive indicator of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in the whole population, but only half the future dementia cases reported memory problems three years before diagnosis.
This three step procedure, which simulates what might occur in clinical practice, has a high positive predictive value for dementia, although only a small number of future cases can be identified.
What is already known on this topicAlzheimer's disease is characterised by a preclinical phase, during which cognitive deficits are seen before diagnosisElderly people with subjective memory complaints and objective global cognitive impairment have a high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementiaWhat this study addsThis three step procedure (self report of memory complaints, test of global cognitive functioning, and then domain specific cognitive tests) has a positive predictivity of 85-100% for Alzheimer's disease and dementia at three yearsHowever, only 18% of people in the preclinical phase can be identified using this procedureAbout half of the people in the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's disease and dementia do not report problems with their memory three years before diagnosis
PMCID: PMC140758  PMID: 12560271

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