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1.  The Risk Instrument for Screening in the Community (RISC): a new instrument for predicting risk of adverse outcomes in community dwelling older adults 
BMC Geriatrics  2015;15:92.
Predicting risk of adverse healthcare outcomes, among community dwelling older adults, is difficult. The Risk Instrument for Screening in the Community (RISC) is a short (2–5 min), global subjective assessment of risk created to identify patients’ 1-year risk of three outcomes:institutionalisation, hospitalisation and death.
We compared the accuracy and predictive ability of the RISC, scored by Public Health Nurses (PHN), to the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) in a prospective cohort study of community dwelling older adults (n = 803), in two Irish PHN sectors. The area under the curve (AUC), from receiver operating characteristic curves and binary logistic regression models, with odds ratios (OR), compared the discriminatory characteristics of the RISC and CFS.
Follow-up data were available for 801 patients. The 1-year incidence of institutionalisation, hospitalisation and death were 10.2, 17.7 and 15.6 % respectively. Patients scored maximum-risk (RISC score 3,4 or 5/5) at baseline had a significantly greater rate of institutionalisation (31.3 and 7.1 %, p < 0.001), hospitalisation (25.4 and 13.2 %, p < 0.001) and death (33.5 and 10.8 %, p < 0.001), than those scored minimum-risk (score 1 or 2/5). The RISC had comparable accuracy for 1-year risk of institutionalisation (AUC of 0.70 versus 0.63), hospitalisation (AUC 0.61 versus 0.55), and death (AUC 0.70 versus 0.67), to the CFS. The RISC significantly added to the predictive accuracy of the regression model for institutionalisation (OR 1.43, p = 0.01), hospitalisation (OR 1.28, p = 0.01), and death (OR 1.58, p = 0.001).
Follow-up outcomes matched well with baseline risk. The RISC, a short global subjective assessment, demonstrated satisfactory validity compared with the CFS.
PMCID: PMC4520060
Screening; Frailty; Risk; Adverse outcomes; Risk Instrument for Screening in the Community (RISC); Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS); and public health nurses (PHNs)
2.  Screening for markers of frailty and perceived risk of adverse outcomes using the Risk Instrument for Screening in the Community (RISC) 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14:104.
Functional decline and frailty are common in community dwelling older adults, increasing the risk of adverse outcomes. Given this, we investigated the prevalence of frailty-associated risk factors and their distribution according to the severity of perceived risk in a cohort of community dwelling older adults, using the Risk Instrument for Screening in the Community (RISC).
A cohort of 803 community dwelling older adults were scored for frailty by their public health nurse (PHN) using the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) and for risk of three adverse outcomes: i) institutionalisation, ii) hospitalisation and iii) death, within the next year, from one (lowest) to five (highest) using the RISC. Prior to scoring, PHNs stated whether they regarded patients as frail.
The median age of patients was 80 years (interquartile range 10), of whom 64% were female and 47.4% were living alone. The median Abbreviated Mental Test Score (AMTS) was 10 (0) and Barthel Index was 18/20 (6). PHNs regarded 42% of patients as frail, while the CFS categorized 54% (scoring ≥5) as frail. Dividing patients into low-risk (score one or two), medium-risk (score three) and high-risk (score four or five) using the RISC showed that 4.3% were considered high risk of institutionalization, 14.5% for hospitalization, and 2.7% for death, within one year of the assessment. There were significant differences in median CFS (4/9 versus 6/9 versus 6/9, p < 0.001), Barthel Index (18/20 versus 11/20 versus 14/20, p < 0.001) and mean AMTS scores (9.51 versus 7.57 versus 7.00, p < 0.001) between those considered low, medium and high risk of institutionalisation respectively. Differences were also statistically significant for hospitalisation and death. Age, gender and living alone were inconsistently associated with perceived risk. Frailty most closely correlated with functional impairment, r = −0.80, p < 0.001.
The majority of patients in this community sample were perceived to be low risk for adverse outcomes. Frailty, cognitive impairment and functional status were markers of perceived risk. Age, gender and social isolation were not and may not be useful indicators when triaging community dwellers. The RISC now requires validation against adverse outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4177708  PMID: 25238874
Screening; Frailty; Risk; Adverse outcomes; Clinical frailty scale (CFS); Risk instrument for screening in the community (RISC); Public health nurses (PHNs); Comorbidities; Cognitive impairment; Barthel index (BI); Abbreviated mental test score (AMTS)
3.  Effects of centrally acting ACE inhibitors on the rate of cognitive decline in dementia 
BMJ Open  2013;3(7):e002881.
There is growing evidence that antihypertensive agents, particularly centrally acting ACE inhibitors (CACE-Is), which cross the blood–brain barrier, are associated with a reduced rate of cognitive decline. Given this, we compared the rates of cognitive decline in clinic patients with dementia receiving CACE-Is (CACE-I) with those not currently treated with CACE-Is (NoCACE-I), and with those who started CACE-Is, during their first 6 months of treatment (NewCACE-I).
Observational case–control study.
2 university hospital memory clinics.
817 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, vascular or mixed dementia. Of these, 361 with valid cognitive scores were included for analysis, 85 CACE-I and 276 NoCACE-I.
Patients were included if the baseline and end-point (standardised at 6 months apart) Standardised Mini-Mental State Examination (SMMSE) or Quick Mild Cognitive Impairment (Qmci) scores were available. Patients with comorbid depression or other dementia subtypes were excluded. The average 6-month rates of change in scores were compared between CACE-I, NoCACE-I and NewCACE-I patients.
When the rate of decline was compared between groups, there was a significant difference in the median, 6-month rate of decline in Qmci scores between CACE-I (1.8 points) and NoCACE-I (2.1 points) patients (p=0.049), with similar, non-significant changes in SMMSE. Median SMMSE scores improved by 1.2 points in the first 6 months of CACE treatment (NewCACE-I), compared to a 0.8 point decline for the CACE-I (p=0.003) group and a 1 point decline for the NoCACE-I (p=0.001) group over the same period. Multivariate analysis, controlling for baseline characteristics, showed significant differences in the rates of decline, in SMMSE, between the three groups, p=0.002.
Cognitive scores may improve in the first 6 months after CACE-I treatment and use of CACE-Is is associated with a reduced rate of cognitive decline in patients with dementia.
PMCID: PMC3703568  PMID: 23887090
Geriatric Medicine
4.  Which part of the Quick mild cognitive impairment screen (Qmci) discriminates between normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment and dementia? 
Age and Ageing  2013;42(3):324-330.
Introduction: the Qmci is a sensitive and specific test to differentiate between normal cognition (NC), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. We compared the sensitivity and specificity of the subtests of the Qmci to determine which best discriminated NC, MCI and dementia.
Objective: the objective was to determine the contribution each subtest of the Qmci makes, to its sensitivity and specificity in differentiating MCI from NC and dementia, to refine and shorten the instrument.
Methods: existing data from our previous study of 965 subjects, testing the Qmci, was analysed to compare the sensitivity and specificity of the Qmci subtests.
Results: all the subtests of the Qmci differentiated MCI from NC. Logical memory (LM) performed the best (area under the receiver operating curve of 0.80), registration the worst, (0.56). LM and verbal fluency had the largest median differences (expressed as percentage of total score) between MCI and NC, 20 and 25%, respectively. Other subtests did not have clinically useful differences. LM was best at differentiating MCI from NC, irrespective of age or educational status.
Conclusion: the Qmci incorporates several important cognitive domains making it useful across the spectrum of cognitive impairment. LM is the best performing subtest for differentiating MCI from NC.
PMCID: PMC3633367  PMID: 23612864
Quick mild cognitive impairment screen; mild cognitive impairment; standardised Mini-Mental State Examination; sensitivity and specificity; cognitive domains
5.  Comparison of the quick mild cognitive impairment (Qmci) screen and the SMMSE in screening for mild cognitive impairment 
Age and Ageing  2012;41(5):624-629.
Introduction: differentiating mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from normal cognition (NC) is difficult. The AB Cognitive Screen (ABCS) 135, sensitive in differentiating MCI from dementia, was modified to improve sensitivity and specificity, producing the quick mild cognitive impairment (Qmci) screen.
Objective: this study compared the sensitivity and specificity of the Qmci with the Standardised MMSE and ABCS 135, to differentiate NC, MCI and dementia.
Methods: weightings and subtests of the ABCS 135 were changed and a new section ‘logical memory’ added, creating the Qmci. From four memory clinics in Ontario, Canada, 335 subjects (154 with MCI, 181 with dementia) were recruited and underwent comprehensive assessment. Caregivers, attending with the subjects, without cognitive symptoms, were recruited as controls (n = 630).
Results: the Qmci was more sensitive than the SMMSE and ABCS 135, in differentiating MCI from NC, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.86 compared with 0.67 and 0.83, respectively, and in differentiating MCI from mild dementia, AUC of 0.92 versus 0.91 and 0.91. The ability of the Qmci to identify MCI was better for those over 75 years.
Conclusion: the Qmci is more sensitive than the SMMSE in differentiating MCI and NC, making it a useful test, for MCI in clinical practice, especially for older adults.
PMCID: PMC3424052  PMID: 22610464
quick mild cognitive impairment screen; mild cognitive impairment; standardised mini-mental state examination; AB cognitive screen 135; sensitivity

Results 1-5 (5)