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1.  Cognitive and daily functioning in older adults with vegetative symptoms of depression 
Objectives
In primary care 50–95% of patients with depression present with vegetative symptoms (VS). Based on the extant literature, older adults showing VS (but no dysphoria) may show functional impairment but this hypothesis has not been empirically tested. The goal of this study was to examine neurocognitive and daily functioning of elderly patients showing exclusively VS in comparison with patients presenting with VS and dysphoria.
Methods
Seven hundred and eighty-seven primary care patients received measures of neurocognition and daily functioning. Neurocognition was measured with the repeatable battery for the assessment of neuropsychological status (RBANS). Three groups were compared: (1) patients with two or more VS of depression without dysphoria (VS − D), (2) patients with at least one VS and dysphoria (VS + D), and (3) comparison patients without multiple VS or dysphoria.
Results
Nearly one third of the sample (31%) fell into the VS − D group, whereas 15% fell into the VS + D group. Both VS groups showed poorer neurocognition and activities of daily living than comparisons. Only one subtest of the RBANS (i.e., picture naming) showed a significant difference between VS + D and VS − D, and there was no significant difference on daily functioning. VS − D patients reported less frequent past history of depression and endorsed less anxiety compared to VS + D.
Conclusions
Elderly patients presenting with clusters of VS with or without dysphoria show poorer neurocognitive and functional performance. Relative poorer cognition and daily functioning in VS − D are potential harbingers of further decline and consistent with under-reporting of sadness in older age.
doi:10.1002/gps.2376
PMCID: PMC3789530  PMID: 19806600
vegetative symptoms; primary care; late-life depression; nondysphoric depression; neurocognition; right hemisphere functions; subthreshold depression
2.  Brief Report: The Temporal Stability of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status Effort Index in Geriatric Samples 
The Effort Index (EI) of the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) was developed to identify inadequate effort. Although researchers have examined its validity, the reliability of the EI has not been evaluated. The current study examined the temporal stability of the EI across 1 year in two independent samples of older adults. One sample consisted of 445 cognitively intact older adults (mean age = 72.89; 59% having 12–15 years of education) and the second sample consisted of 51 individuals diagnosed with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (mean age = 82.41; 41% having 12–15 years of education). For both samples, the EI was found to have low stability (Spearman's ρ = .32–.36). When participants were divided into those whose EI stayed stable or improved versus those whose EI worsened (i.e., declining effort) on retesting, it was observed that individuals with lower baseline RBANS Total scores tended to worsen on the EI across time. Overall, the findings suggest low temporal stability of the EI in two geriatric samples. In particular, individuals with poorer cognition at baseline could present with poorer effort across time. These findings also suggest the need to further examine the temporal stability of other effort measures.
doi:10.1093/arclin/acr072
PMCID: PMC3286195  PMID: 22075575
Malingering/symptom validity testing; Elderly/geriatrics/aging; Mild cognitive impairment
3.  Interpreting the psychometric properties of the components of primary care instrument in an elderly population 
Objective:
To determine the psychometric properties of the Components of Primary Care Instrument (CPCI) in a patient population aged 65 or older.
Materials and Methods:
795 participants in the OKLAHOMA Studies, a longitudinal population-based study of predominantly Caucasian, elderly patients, completed the CPCI. Reliability analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were done to provide psychometric properties for this elderly sample. Models were constructed and tested to determine the best fit for the data including the addition of a method factor for negatively worded items.
Results:
Cronbach's alphas were comparable to values reported in prior studies. The confirmatory factor analysis with factor inter-correlations and a method factor each improved the fit of the factor model to the data. The combined model's fit approached the level conventionally recognized as adequate.
Conclusion:
CPCI appears to be a reliable tool for describing patient perceptions of the quality of primary care for patients over age 65.
doi:10.4103/2230-8229.98299
PMCID: PMC3410175  PMID: 22870416
Components of primary care instrument; elderly; older patients; primary care; reliability; validity
4.  The RBANS Effort Index: Base rates in geriatric samples 
Applied neuropsychology  2011;18(1):11-17.
The Effort Index (EI) of the RBANS was developed to assist clinicians in discriminating patients who demonstrate good effort from those with poor effort. However, there are concerns that older adults might be unfairly penalized by this index, which uses uncorrected raw scores. Using five independent samples of geriatric patients with a broad range of cognitive functioning (e.g., cognitively intact, nursing home residents, probable Alzheimer’s disease), base rates of failure on the EI were calculated. In cognitively intact and mildly impaired samples, few older individuals were classified as demonstrating poor effort (e.g., 3% in cognitively intact). However, in the more severely impaired geriatric patients, over one third had EI scores that fell above suggested cut-off scores (e.g., 37% in nursing home residents, 33% in probable Alzheimer’s disease). In the cognitively intact sample, older and less educated patients were more likely to have scores suggestive of poor effort. Education effects were observed in 3 of the 4 clinical samples. Overall cognitive functioning was significantly correlated with EI scores, with poorer cognition being associated with greater suspicion of low effort. The current results suggest that age, education, and level of cognitive functioning should be taken into consideration when interpreting EI results and that significant caution is warranted when examining EI scores in elders suspected of having dementia.
doi:10.1080/09084282.2010.523354
PMCID: PMC3074382  PMID: 21390895
symptom validity testing; RBANS; geriatric assessment
5.  Patient and provider determinants of nephrology referral in older adults with severe chronic kidney disease: a survey of provider decision making 
BMC Nephrology  2011;12:47.
Background
Although chronic kidney disease (CKD) disproportionately affects older adults, they are less likely to be referred to a nephrologist. Factors that influence the referral decisions of primary care providers (PCPs) specifically for older CKD patients have been incompletely described. Patient factors such as dementia, functional disability, and co-morbidity may complicate the decision to refer an older adult. This study evaluated the role of patient and PCP factors in the referral decisions for older adults with stage 4 CKD.
Methods
We administered a two-part survey to study the decisions of practicing PCPs. First, using a blocked factorial design, vignettes systematically varied 6 patient characteristics: age, race, gender, co-morbidity, functional status, and cognitive status. CKD severity, patient preferences, and degree of anemia were held constant. Second, covariates from a standard questionnaire included PCP estimates of life expectancy, demographics, reaction to clinical uncertainty, and risk aversion. The main outcome was the decision to refer to the nephrologist. Random effects logistic regression models tested independent associations of predictor variables with the referral decision.
Results
More than half (62.5%) of all PCP decisions (n = 680) were to refer to a nephrologist. Vignette-based factors that independently decreased referral included older patient age (OR = 0.27; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.48) and having moderate dementia (OR = 0.14; 95%CI, 0.07 to 0.25). There were no associations between co-morbidity or impaired functional activity with the referral decision. Survey-based PCP factors that significantly increased the referral likelihood include female gender (OR = 7.75; 95%CI, 2.07 to 28.93), non-white race (OR = 30.29; 95%CI, 1.30 to 703.73), those who expect nephrologists to discuss goals of care (OR = 53.13; 95%CI, 2.42 to 1168.00), those with higher levels of anxiety about uncertainty (OR = 1.28; 95%CI, 1.04 to 1.57), and those with greater risk aversion (OR = 3.39; 95%CI, 1.02 to 11.24).
Conclusions
In this decision making study using hypothetical clinical vignettes, we found that the PCP decision to refer older patients with severe CKD to a nephrologist reflects a complex interplay between patient and provider factors. Age, dementia, and several provider characteristics weighed more heavily than co-morbidity and functional status in PCP referral decisions. These results suggest that practice guidelines should develop a more nuanced approach to the referral of older adults with CKD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-12-47
PMCID: PMC3192737  PMID: 21943241
6.  Utility of the RBANS in detecting cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease: Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive powers 
Although initially developed as a brief dementia battery, the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) has not yet demonstrated its sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive powers in detecting cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Therefore, the current study examined the clinical utility of the RBANS by comparing two age-, education-, and gender-matched groups: patients with AD (n=69) and comparators (n=69). Significant differences (p<0.001) were observed on the RBANS Total score, all five Indexes, and all twelve subtests, with patients performing worse than the comparison participants. An optimal balance between sensitivity and specificity on RBANS scores was obtained when cutoffs of one and one and a half standard deviations below the mean of the comparison sample were implemented. Areas under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curves for all RBANS Indexes were impressive though Immediate and Delayed Memory Indexes were excellent (0.96 and 0.98, respectively). Results suggest that RBANS scores yield excellent estimates of diagnostic accuracy and that the RBANS is a useful screening tool in detection of cognitive deficits associated with AD.
doi:10.1016/j.acn.2008.06.004
PMCID: PMC2570647  PMID: 18639437
Alzheimer’s disease; dementia; diagnostic accuracy; Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status
7.  Utility of the RBANS in detecting cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer's disease: Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive powers 
Abstract
Although initially developed as a brief dementia battery, the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) has not yet demonstrated its sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive powers in detecting cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Therefore, the current study examined the clinical utility of the RBANS by comparing two age-, education-, and gender-matched groups: patients with AD (n=69) and comparators (n=69). Significant differences (p<0.001) were observed on the RBANS Total score, all 5 Indexes, and all 12 subtests, with patients performing worse than the comparison participants. An optimal balance between sensitivity and specificity on RBANS scores was obtained when cutoffs of one and one and a half standard deviations below the mean of the comparison sample were implemented. Areas under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curves for all RBANS Indexes were impressive though Immediate and Delayed Memory Indexes were excellent (0.96 and 0.98, respectively). Results suggest that RBANS scores yield excellent estimates of diagnostic accuracy and that the RBANS is a useful screening tool in detection of cognitive deficits associated with AD.
doi:10.1016/j.acn.2008.06.004
PMCID: PMC2570647  PMID: 18639437
Alzheimer's disease; Dementia; Diagnostic accuracy; Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status

Results 1-7 (7)