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1.  Diagnostic and economic evaluation of new biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease: the research protocol of a prospective cohort study 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:72.
New research criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have recently been developed to enable an early diagnosis of AD pathophysiology by relying on emerging biomarkers. To enable efficient allocation of health care resources, evidence is needed to support decision makers on the adoption of emerging biomarkers in clinical practice. The research goals are to 1) assess the diagnostic test accuracy of current clinical diagnostic work-up and emerging biomarkers in MRI, PET and CSF, 2) perform a cost-consequence analysis and 3) assess long-term cost-effectiveness by an economic model.
In a cohort design 241 consecutive patients suspected of having a primary neurodegenerative disease are approached in four academic memory clinics and followed for two years. Clinical data and data on quality of life, costs and emerging biomarkers are gathered.
Diagnostic test accuracy is determined by relating the clinical practice and new research criteria diagnoses to a reference diagnosis. The clinical practice diagnosis at baseline is reflected by a consensus procedure among experts using clinical information only (no biomarkers). The diagnosis based on the new research criteria is reflected by decision rules that combine clinical and biomarker information. The reference diagnosis is determined by a consensus procedure among experts based on clinical information on the course of symptoms over a two-year time period.
A decision analytic model is built combining available evidence from different resources among which (accuracy) results from the study, literature and expert opinion to assess long-term cost-effectiveness of the emerging biomarkers.
Several other multi-centre trials study the relative value of new biomarkers for early evaluation of AD and related disorders. The uniqueness of this study is the assessment of resource utilization and quality of life to enable an economic evaluation. The study results are generalizable to a population of patients who are referred to a memory clinic due to their memory problems.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3460756  PMID: 22883691
2.  Research protocol of the NeedYD-study (Needs in Young onset Dementia): a prospective cohort study on the needs and course of early onset dementia 
BMC Geriatrics  2010;10:13.
Early onset dementia has serious consequences for patients and their family members. Although there has been growing attention for this patient group, health care services are still mainly targeted at the elderly. Specific knowledge of the needs of early onset dementia patients and their families is limited but necessary for the development of adequate health care services and specific guidelines. This research project is mainly targeted at delineating the course of early onset dementia, the functional characteristics and needs of early onset dementia patients and their caregivers, the risk factors for institutionalization and the interaction with the caring environment.
The NeedYD-study (Needs in Young Onset Dementia) is a longitudinal observational study investigating early onset dementia patients and their caregivers (n = 217). Assessments are performed every six months over two years and consist of interviews and questionnaires with patients and caregivers. The main outcomes are (1) the needs of patients and caregivers, as measured by the Camberwell Assessment of Needs for the Elderly (CANE) and (2) neuropsychiatric symptoms, as measured by the NeuroPsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Qualitative analyses will be performed in order to obtain more in-depth information on the experiences of EOD patients and their family members. The results of this study will be compared with comparable data on late onset dementia from a historical cohort.
The study protocol of the NeedYD-study is presented here. To our knowledge, this study is the first prospective cohort study in this research area. Although some limitations exist, these do not outweigh the strong points of this study design.
PMCID: PMC2848142  PMID: 20226041
3.  Passive movement therapy in patients with moderate to severe paratonia; study protocol of a randomised clinical trial (ISRCTN43069940) 
BMC Geriatrics  2007;7:30.
Paratonia, a form of hypertonia, is associated with loss of mobility and with the development of contractures especially in the late stages of the dementia.
Passive movement therapy (PMT) currently is the main physiotherapeutic intervention. General doubt about the beneficial effects of this widely used therapy necessitates a randomised clinical trial (RCT) to study the efficacy of PMT on the severity of paratonia and on the improvement of daily care.
A RCT with a 4-week follow-up period. Patients with dementia (according to the DSM-IV-TR Criteria) and moderate to severe paratonia are included in the study after proxy consent. By means of computerised and concealed block randomisation (block-size of 4) patients are included in one of two groups. The first group receives PMT, the second group receives usual care without PMT. PMT is given according to a protocol by physical therapist three times a week for four weeks in a row. The severity of paratonia (Modified Ashworth scale), the severity of the dementia (Global Deterioration Scale), the clinical improvement (Clinical Global Impressions), the difficulty in daily care (Patient Specific Complaints) and the experienced pain in daily care of the participant (PACSLAC-D) is assessed by assessors blind to treatment allocation at baseline, after 6 and 12 treatments.
Success of the intervention is defined as a significant increase of decline on the modified Ashworth scale. The 'proportion of change' in two and four weeks time on this scale will be analysed. Also a multiple logistic regression analysis using declined/not declined criteria as dependent variable with correction for relevant confounders (e.g. stage of dementia, medication, co-morbidity) will be used.
This study is the first RCT of this size to gain further insight on the effect of passive movement therapy on the severity of paratonia.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43069940
PMCID: PMC2257947  PMID: 18093298
4.  Performance of the EQ-5D and the EQ-5D+C in elderly patients with cognitive impairments 
The EQ-5D is a reliable tool for measuring Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL). However, concern has been expressed that it may ignore elements of HRQoL, particularly cognition. In response to this concern, the EQ-5D has been extended with a cognitive dimension (EQ-5D+C). The aim of this study was to compare the performance of the EQ-5D and the EQ-5D+C in elderly patients with cognitive impairments by assessing their construct validity and responsiveness.
Data from the MEDICIE study (n = 196) were used, in which all questionnaires were rated by proxies.
Regarding construct validity, we found similar correlations between the EQ-5D and the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and between the EQ-5D+C and the MMSE. Furthermore, both the EQ-5D and the EQ-5D+C were responsive to changes in the MMSE, with the EQ-5D performing slightly better.
We conclude that the EQ-5D performs well for evaluating HRQoL in a population with cognitive impairments. Based on the results of this explorative study, it does not seem necessary to adjust the current classification system by adding a cognitive dimension. However, in order to compare both instruments regarding utility values, it is necessary to develop a new scoring algorithm for the EQ-5D+C by conducting a general population study. Considering the explorative nature of this study, it is recommended that more aspects of the validity of both the EQ-5D and the EQ-5D+C are explored in patients with cognitive impairments using a more tailored study design.
PMCID: PMC1904437  PMID: 17570832

Results 1-4 (4)