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1.  The Neuropsychological Course of Acute Delirium in Adult Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Patients 
Although delirium is a common medical comorbidity with altered cognition as its defining feature, few publications have addressed the neuropsychological prodrome, profile, and recovery of patients tested during delirium. We characterize neuropsychological performance in 54 hemapoietic stem cell/bone marrow transplantation (BMT) patients shortly before, during, and after delirium and in BMT patients without delirium and 10 healthy adults. Patients were assessed prospectively before and after transplantation using a brief battery. BMT patients with delirium performed more poorly than comparisons and those without delirium on cross-sectional and trend analyses. Deficits were in expected areas of attention and memory, but also in psychomotor speed and learning. The patients with delirium did not return to normative “average” on any test during observation. Most tests showed a mild decline in the visit before delirium, a sharp decline with delirium onset, and variable performance in the following days. This study adds to the few investigations of neuropsychological performance surrounding delirium and provides targets for monitoring and early detection; Trails A and B, RBANS Coding, and List Recall may be useful for delirium assessment.
PMCID: PMC3104596  PMID: 21183605
Bone marrow transplantation; Cognition; Cancer; Attention; Delirium
2.  Estimating Premorbid Functioning in Huntington's Disease: The Relationship between Disease Progression and the Wide Range Achievement Test Reading Subtest 
The estimation of premorbid abilities is an essential part of a neuropsychological evaluation, especially in neurodegenerative conditions. Although word pronunciation tests are one standard method for estimating the premorbid level, research suggests that these tests may not be valid in neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, the current study sought to examine two estimates of premorbid intellect, the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) Reading subtest and the Barona formula, in 93 patients with mild to moderate Huntington's disease (HD) to determine their utility and to investigate how these measures relate to signs and symptoms of disease progression. In 89% of participants, WRAT estimates were below the Barona estimates. WRAT estimates were related to worsening memory and motor functioning, whereas the Barona estimates had weaker relationships. Neither estimate was related to depression or functional capacity. Irregular word reading tests appear to decline with HD progression, whereas estimation methods based on demographic factors may be more robust but overestimate premorbid functioning.
PMCID: PMC3021970  PMID: 21147861
Huntington's disease; movement disorders; basal ganglia; assessment; dementia
3.  Diagnostic Accuracy of the RBANS in Mild Cognitive Impairment: Limitations on Assessing Milder Impairments 
The Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) has demonstrated adequate sensitivity in detecting cognitive impairment in a number of neuropsychiatric conditions, including Alzheimer's disease. However, its ability to detect milder cognitive deficits in the elderly has not been examined. The current study examined the clinical utility of the RBANS by comparing two groups: Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI; n = 72) and cognitively intact peers (n = 71). Significant differences were observed on the RBANS Total score, 3 of the 5 Indexes, and 6 of the 12 subtests, with individuals with MCI performing worse than the comparison participants. Specificity was very good, but sensitivity ranged from poor to moderate. Areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves for the RBANS Immediate and Delayed Memory Indexes and the Total Scale score were adequate. Although significant differences were observed between groups and the areas under the curves were adequate, the lower sensitivity values of the RBANS suggests that caution should be used when diagnosing conditions such as MCI.
PMCID: PMC2904671  PMID: 20570820
Mild Cognitive Impairment; Diagnostic accuracy; Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status
4.  Predicting Cognitive Change in Older Adults: The Relative Contribution of Practice Effects 
Assessing cognitive change in older adults is a common use of neuropsychological services, and neuropsychologists have utilized several strategies to determine if a change is “real,” “reliable,” and “meaningful.” Although standardized regression-based (SRB) prediction formulas may be useful in determining change, SRBs have not been widely applied to older adults. The current study sought to develop SRB formulas on a group of 127 community-dwelling older adults for several widely used neuropsychological measures. In addition to baseline test scores and demographic information, the current study also examined the role of short-term practice effects in predicting test scores after 1 year. Consistent with prior research on younger adults, baseline test performances were the strongest predictors of future test performances, accounting for 25%–58% of the variance. Short-term practice effects significantly added to the predictability of all nine of the cognitive tests examined (3%–22%). Future studies should continue extending SRB methodology for older adults, and the inclusion of practice effects appears to add to the prediction of future cognition.
PMCID: PMC2819829  PMID: 20064816
Predicting cognition; Practice effects
5.  The Indiana Faces in Places Test: Preliminary Findings on a New Visuospatial Memory Test in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment 
Memory assessment is an important component of a neuropsychological evaluation, but far fewer visual than verbal memory instruments are available. We examined the preliminary psychometric properties and clinical utility of a novel, motor-free paper and pencil visuospatial memory test, the Indiana faces in places test (IFIPT). The IFIPT and general neuropsychological performance were assessed in 36 adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and 113 older adults with no cognitive impairment at baseline, 1 week, and 1 year. The IFIPT is a visual memory test with 10 faces paired with spatial locations (three learning trials and non-cued delayed recall). Results showed that MCI participants scored lower than controls on several variables, most notably total learning (p < .001 at all three time points), delayed recall (baseline p = .03, 1 week p < .001, 1 year p < .001), and false-positive errors (range p = .03 to <0.001). The IFIPT showed similar test–retest reliability at 1-week and 1-year follow-up to other neuropsychological tests (r = 0.71–0.84 for MCI and 0.53–0.72 for controls). Diagnostic accuracy was modest for this sample (areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve between 0.64 and 0.66). Preliminary psychometric analyses support further study of the IFIPT. The measure showed evidence of clinical utility by demonstrating group differences between this sample of healthy adults and those with MCI.
PMCID: PMC2755831  PMID: 19679593
Mild cognitive impairment; Visual memory; Face memory; Test–retest reliability
6.  An updated version of the Weigl discriminates adults with dementia from those with mild impairment and healthy controls☆ 
Dementia screening batteries often fall short on measures of executive functioning. The Weigl Color Form Sorting Test (WCFST) is a candidate for inclusion in such batteries, but can be insensitive to mild disturbance. The WCFST consists of 12 colored geometric shapes and requires the patient to sort the pieces by color or form, and then shift to the other sorting principle unassisted. We created a modified version of the WCFST (the Weigl-R) with increased conceptual complexity by adding two stimulus dimensions (texture and central shapes). The range of scores was also increased by adding the extent of examiner assistance required to achieve a correct sort, ability to verbalize conceptual strategy, and number of perseverations. We administered the Weigl-R to a group of 30 patients with mixed dementias, 34 adults with cognitive impairment without dementia, and 21 healthy controls. The new measure discriminated well between healthy controls and older adults with either cognitive impairment without dementia, or dementia. The Weigl-R may be a useful adjunct to brief dementia batteries but requires further validation.
PMCID: PMC2760247  PMID: 18093797
Dementia; Executive functioning; Neuropsychology; Conceptual reasoning
7.  Practice effects in the prediction of long-term cognitive outcome in three patient samples: A novel prognostic index 
Practice effects, defined as improvements in cognitive test performance due to repeated exposure to the test materials, have traditionally been viewed as sources of error. However, they might provide useful information for predicting cognitive outcome. The current study used three separate patient samples (older adults with mild cognitive impairments, individuals who were HIV +, individuals with Huntington’s disease) to examine the relationship between practice effects and cognitive functioning at a later point. Across all three samples, practice effects accounted for as much as 31 to 83% of the variance in the follow-up cognitive scores, after controlling for baseline cognitive functioning. If these findings can be replicated in other patients with neurodegenerative disorders, clinicians and researchers may be able to develop predictive models to identify the individuals who are most likely to demonstrate continued cognitive decline across time. The ability to utilize practice effects data would add a simple, convenient, and non-invasive marker for monitoring an individual patient’s cognitive status. Additionally, this prognostic index could be used to offer interventions to patients who are in the earliest stages of progressive neurodegenerative disorders.
PMCID: PMC1847360  PMID: 17142007
practice effects; cognitive outcome; Mild Cognitive Impairment; HIV; Huntington’s disease

Results 1-7 (7)