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.
Alzheimer’s dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; Hopkins verbal learning test; Screening test
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.
Color-word interference; Learning; Memory; Mental state; Mild stroke
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.
functional ability; HVLT; AVLT; verbal memory
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.
AVLT; Growth modeling; HVLT; Memory training; Older adults
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.
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.
Executive function; geriatric; depression; remission; semantic strategy; Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT)
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.
Objective: To determine whether a differential impairment of spatial memory exists in Huntington's disease (HD).
Methods: Patients with HD and age matched neurologically normal subjects, as well as patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD), learned the locations of nine items on a 3x3 grid over as many as 10 trials. Delayed recall of the items and their spatial locations was tested.
Results: Patient with HD performed worse than normal subjects on all measures, and intermediate between AD and PD patients. However, they were the only subject group in whom delayed recall of spatial locations was poorer than delayed recall of object identity. This effect was independent of the severity of dementia.
Conclusions: HD patients have a differential impairment in memory for object–location information. This finding may relate to the involvement of the caudate nucleus, the primary site of pathology in HD, in corticostriatal circuits linking it with parietal association cortex. It is also consistent with views of the dorsal striatum as responsible for the acquisition over trials of specific place responses.
The purpose of the present investigation was to determine the relationship between serum ghrelin concentrations, adiposity, and verbal learning in a group of healthy, fit older adults. Participants were 28 healthy older adults (age: 70.8 ± 9.3 yrs, BMI: 27.3 ± 5.7). Participants reported to the laboratory and basic anthropometric data were collected, followed by a blood draw to quantify serum ghrelin. Participants then underwent cognitive testing that included the revised Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT), as well as the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE). The results of the MMSE test revealed that the volunteers were cognitively intact (MMSE 27.6 ± 1.8). A significant correlation emerged between serum ghrelin concentrations, 2 trials of the HVLT (Trial 1: r = 0.316, P = 0.05; Trial 2: r = 0.395, P = 0.03), and the sum of three-site skinfold analysis (r = 0.417, P = 0.015). Based upon the aforementioned relationships, it appears that fasting levels of serum ghrelin are related to both verbal learning and adiposity in healthy, fit older adults.
Episodic memory tasks are one of the most sensitive tools to discriminate Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This study aimed to validate a shorter version verbal memory test that will efficiently assess Chinese elderly with memory complaints. One hundred and eighty-five elderly with normal cognition (NC) and 217 AD patients were evaluated. Each participant received the Chinese Version Verbal Learning Test (CVVLT) consisting of 9 two-character nouns with 4 learning trials, 2 delayed recalls in 30 seconds and 10 minutes, and a word recognition test. In the NC elderly, age and sex had significant effects on recall scores in CVVLT, while education level showed an inverse correlation with 3 different patterns of errors made during the learning, recall, and recognition trials. AD patients had lower scores across all recall tests. In those with lower educational level, NC elderly had higher perseveration errors than AD patients. The cutoff value between the AD and NC groups in the 10-minute recall was 4/5 for those aged >75 years and 5/6 for those aged <75 years. This study has good validity in discriminating AD participants and the data here can help in diagnosing AD and mild cognitive impairment using the CVVLT.
Chinese Verbal Learning Test; education; memory; dementia; cutoff value; validation
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.
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.
Cognitive dysfunction and cardiovascular disease are common and debilitating manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this study, we evaluated the relationship between cardiovascular events, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, and SLE-specific risk factors as predictors of cognitive dysfunction in a large cohort of participants with SLE.
Subjects included 694 participants from the Lupus Outcomes Study (LOS), a longitudinal study of SLE outcomes based on annual telephone survey querying demographic and clinical variables. The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test – Revised (HVLT-R) and the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT) were administered to assess cognitive function. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction (MI), stroke), traditional cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, obesity, smoking), and SLE-specific risk factors (antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL), disease activity, disease duration) associated with cognitive impairment in year seven of the LOS.
The prevalence of cognitive impairment as measured by verbal memory and verbal fluency metrics was 15%. In adjusted multiple logistic regression analyses, aPL (OR=2.10, 95% CI 1.3-3.41), hypertension (OR=2.06, 95% CI 1.19-3.56), and a history of stroke (OR=2.27, 95% CI 1.16-4.43) were significantly associated with cognitive dysfunction. In additional analyses evaluating the association between these predictors and severity of cognitive impairment, stroke was significantly more prevalent in participants with severe impairment when compared to those with mild or moderate impairment (p=0.036).
These results suggest that the presence of aPL, hypertension, and stroke are key variables associated with cognitive impairment, which may aid in identification of patients at greatest risk.
Depression is associated with more severe cognitive deficits in many neurological disorders, though the investigation of this relationship in Huntington disease (HD) has been limited. This study examined the relationship between depressive symptom severity and measures of executive functioning, learning/memory, and attention in prodromal HD.
Participants (814 prodromal HD, 230 gene-negative) completed a neuropsychological test battery and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Based on the BDI-II, there were 637 participants with minimal depression, 89 with mild depression, 61 with moderate depression, and 27 with severe depression in the prodromal HD group.
ANCOVA (controlling for age, sex, and education) revealed that performance on SDMT, Trails B, HVLT-R Immediate Recall, and Stroop interference was significantly different between the BDI-II severity groups, with the moderate and severe groups performing worse than the minimal and mild groups. There were no significant differences between the BDI-II severity groups for Trails A or HVLT-R Delayed Recall. Linear regression revealed that both gene status and depression severity were significant predictors of performance on all cognitive tests examined, with contributions of BDI-II and gene status comparable for Trails A, SDMT, and Stroop interference. Gene status had a higher contribution for HVLT-R Immediate and Delayed Recall and Trails B.
Our results suggest that depressive symptom severity is related to poorer cognitive performance in individuals with prodromal HD. Though there are currently no approved therapies for cognitive impairment in HD, our findings suggest that depression may be a treatable contributor to cognitive impairment in this population.
Huntington disease; depression; cognitive impairment; neuropsychology
The present study compared the performance of individuals with Huntington's disease (HD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) on three types of California Verbal Learning Test–Second Edition (CVLT-II) recognition discriminability indices (RDI): Source, Novel, and Total. The HD and AD groups did not differ significantly on Source RDI (all 16 targets versus the 16 previously presented, List B, distractors). However, HD patients performed significantly better than AD patients on Total RDI (all 16 targets versus all 32 distractors) and Novel RDI (all 16 targets versus 16 new distractors). Implications of these findings on the differentiation of the memory disorders associated with HD and AD are discussed.
To explore associations between two specific cognitive domains and aspects of medication management among older primary care patients.
A sample of patients aged 65+ years drawn from several small-town primary care practices was carefully characterized with cognitive testing and use of prescription medications. Two primary outcome variables were examined: (a) self reports of setting up schedules to manage their own medication, and (b) overall research assessment of adherence to prescribed medications. Predictor variables included scores on a test of verbal memory (Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, HVLT) and a test of executive functions (Part B of the Trailmaking test) presence of prescription insurance, number of medications, and dosing frequency, adjusting for age, sex, and education. Multiple logistic regression and generalized estimating equation models were used for multivariable analyses.
Higher scores on the verbal memory test and having prescription insurance were independently associated with successfully setting up a medication schedule, after adjusting for covariates. Higher scores on the test of working memory and a lower number of prescription drugs were associated with the participant being assessed as adherent to medications.
Independent cognitive processes are associated with the ability to set up a medication schedule and overall adherence to prescriptions. Better verbal memory functioning was strongly and independently associated with study participants setting up their own medication schedules, while better executive functioning was strongly and independently associated with being fully adherent to prescription instructions. Deficits in either cognitive ability could result in medication errors.
Medication adherence; elderly; cognition
Deficits in learning, memory, and executive functions are common cognitive sequelae of Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD); however, the pattern of deficits within these populations is distinct. Hierarchical regression was used to investigate the contribution of two measures with executive function properties (Verbal Fluency and CLOX) on list-learning performance (CVLT-II total words learned) in a sample of 25 PDD patients and 25 matched AD patients. Executive measures were predictive of list learning in the PDD group after the contribution of overall cognition and contextual verbal learning was accounted for, whereas in the AD group the addition of executive measures did not add to prediction of variance in CVLT-II learning. These findings suggest that deficits in executive functions play a vital role in learning impairments in patients with PDD; however, for AD patients, learning difficulties appear relatively independent of executive dysfunction.
Parkinson's disease with dementia; Alzheimer's disease; Executive function; List learning; Neuropsychologic tests; Comparative studies
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.
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.
Anticholinergic; Cognitive Function; Elderly; Overactive Bladder
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.
Research in recent years has suggested a role of vitamin D in the central nervous system. The final converting enzyme and the vitamin D receptor are found throughout the human brain. From animal studies vitamin D appears important in neurodevelopment, up-regulation of neurotrophic factors, stabilization of mitochondrial function, and antioxidation.
To examine the relationship between serum vitamin D and neuropsychiatric function in persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
This is an add-on study to a longitudinal study following neuropsychiatric function in persons with PD. Baseline neuropsychiatric performance and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D were examined for 286 participants with PD. Measures of global cognitive function (MMSE, MOCA, Mattis Dementia Scale), verbal memory (Hopkins Verbal Learning Test), fluency (animals, vegetables, and FAS words), visuospatial function (Benton Line Orientation), executive function (Trails Making Test and Digit-Symbol Substitution), PD severity (Hoehn & Yahr and Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale) and depression (Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)) were administered. Multivariate linear regression assessed the association between vitamin D concentration and neuropsychiatric function, in the entire cohort as well as the non-demented and demented subsets.
Using a multivariate model, higher vitamin concentrations were associated with better performance on numerous neuropsychiatric tests in the non-demented subset of the cohort. Significant associations were specifically found between vitamin D concentration and verbal fluency and verbal memory (t = 4.31, p < 0.001 and t = 3.04, p = 0.0083). Vitamin D concentrations also correlated with depression scores (t =−3.08, p = 0.0083) in the non-demented subset.
Higher plasma vitamin D is associated with better cognition and better mood in this sample of PD patients without dementia. Determination of causation will require a vitamin D intervention study.
Parkinson’s disease; vitamin D; dementia; depression; cognition
Memory and executive functioning are two important components of clinical neuropsychological (NP) practice and research. Multiple demographic factors are known to affect performance differentially on most NP tests, but adequate normative corrections, inclusive of race/ethnicity, are not available for many widely used instruments. This study compared demographic contributions for widely used tests of verbal and visual learning and memory (Brief Visual Memory Test-Revised, Hopkins Verbal Memory Test-Revised), and executive functioning (Stroop Color and Word Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test-64) in groups of healthy Caucasians (n = 143) and African-Americans (n = 103). Demographic factors of age, education, gender, and race/ethnicity were found to be significant factors on some indices of all four tests. The magnitude of demographic contributions (especially age) was greater for African-Americans than Caucasians on most measures. New, demographically corrected T-score formulas were calculated for each race/ethnicity. The rates of NP impairment using previously published normative standards significantly overestimated NP impairment in African-Americans. Utilizing the new demographic corrections developed and presented herein, NP impairment rates were comparable between the two race/ethnicities and unrelated to the other demographic characteristics (age, education, gender) in either race/ethnicity group. Findings support the need to consider extended demographic contributions to neuropsychological test performance in clinical and research settings.
An increasingly popular method of assessing cognitive functions in rodents is the automated touchscreen platform, on which a number of different cognitive tests can be run in a manner very similar to touchscreen methods currently used to test human subjects. This methodology is low stress (using appetitive, rather than aversive reinforcement), has high translational potential, and lends itself to a high degree of standardisation and throughput. Applications include the study of cognition in rodent models of psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, frontotemporal dementia), and characterisation of the role of select brain regions, neurotransmitter systems and genes in rodents. This protocol describes how to perform four touchscreen assays of learning and memory: Visual Discrimination, Object-Location Paired-Associates Learning, Visuomotor Conditional Learning and Autoshaping. It is accompanied by two further protocols using the touchscreen platform to assess executive function, working memory and pattern separation.
Episodic memory is the first and most severely affected cognitive domain in Alzheimer's disease (AD), and it is also the key early marker in prodromal stages including amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The relative ability of memory tests to discriminate between MCI and normal aging has not been well characterized. We compared the classification value of widely used verbal memory tests in distinguishing healthy older adults (n = 51) from those with MCI (n = 38). Univariate logistic regression indicated that the total learning score from the California Verbal Learning Test-II (CVLT-II) ranked highest in terms of distinguishing MCI from normal aging (sensitivity = 90.2; specificity = 84.2). Inclusion of the delayed recall condition of a story memory task (i.e., WMS-III Logical Memory, Story A) enhanced the overall accuracy of classification (sensitivity = 92.2; specificity = 94.7). Combining Logical Memory recognition and CVLT-II long delay best predicted progression from MCI to AD over a 4-year period (accurate classification = 87.5%). Learning across multiple trials may provide the most sensitive index for initial diagnosis of MCI, but inclusion of additional variables may enhance overall accuracy and may represent the optimal strategy for identifying individuals most likely to progress to 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.
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.