The large number of primary Spanish speakers both in the United States and the world makes it imperative that appropriate neuropsychological assessment instruments be available to serve the needs of these populations. In this article we describe the norming process for Spanish speakers from the U.S.–Mexico border region on the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-revised and the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-revised. We computed the rates of impairment that would be obtained by applying the original published norms for these tests to raw scores from the normative sample, and found substantial overestimates compared to expected rates. As expected, these overestimates were most salient at the lowest levels of education, given the under-representation of poorly educated subjects in the original normative samples. Results suggest that demographically corrected norms derived from healthy Spanish-speaking adults with a broad range of education, are less likely to result in diagnostic errors. At minimum, demographic corrections for the tests in question should include the influence of literacy or education, in addition to the traditional adjustments for age. Because the age range of our sample was limited, the norms presented should not be applied to elderly populations.
Cross-cultural assessment; Spanish; Hispanic; Learning; Memory; Ethnic differences
This study assessed the clinical utility of contrast sensitivity (CS) relative to attention, executive function, and visuospatial abilities for predicting driving safety in participants with Parkinson's disease (PD). Twenty-five, non-demented PD patients completed measures of contrast sensitivity, visuospatial skills, executive functions, and attention. All PD participants also underwent a formal on-road driving evaluation. Of the 25 participants, 11 received a marginal or unsafe rating on the road test. Poorer driving performance was associated with worse performance on measures of CS, visuospatial constructions, set shifting, and attention. While impaired driving was associated with a range of cognitive and visual abilities, only a composite measure of executive functioning and visuospatial abilities, and not CS or attentional skills, predicted driving performance. These findings suggest that neuropsychological tests, which are multifactorial in nature and require visual perception and visual spatial judgments are the most useful screening measures for hazardous driving in PD patients.
Contrast sensitivity; Executive function; Visuospatial; Activities of daily living
This study examined the sensitivity of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to microstructural white matter (WM) damage in mild and moderate pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). Fourteen children with TBI and 14 controls ages 10–18 had DTI scans and neurocognitive evaluations at 6–12 months post-injury. Groups did not differ in intelligence, but children with TBI showed slower processing speed, working memory and executive deficits, and greater behavioral dysregulation. The TBI group had lower fractional anisotropy (FA) in three WM regions: inferior frontal, superior frontal, and supracallosal. There were no group differences in corpus callosum. FA in the frontal and supracallosal regions was correlated with executive functioning. Supracallosal FA was also correlated with motor speed. Behavior ratings showed correlations with supracallosal FA. Parent-reported executive deficits were inversely correlated with FA. Results suggest that DTI measures are sensitive to long-term WM changes and associated with cognitive functioning following pediatric TBI.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI); Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); White matter; Pediatric
This study tested the convergence of behavioral inhibition measures across emotional and non-emotional versions of the same go/no-go task in 85 college students. The two tasks differed only in the stimuli used for trial cues (i.e., circles versus facial expressions). Moderate correlations (r = .51 to r = .56) between commission errors across the emotional and non-emotional tasks support the construct validity of behavioral inhibition. Further, parametric manipulation of preceding context had comparable effects on performance on the two tasks. Responses were slower and more variable, commission errors were more numerous, and perceptual sensitivity was lower on the emotional than the non-emotional task. A bias for happy faces on the emotional task resulted in faster responses and more commission errors for happy than sad faces despite marginally greater sensitivity for the latter. These results suggest that the basic neuropsychological constructs of the original go/no-go task were preserved in the emotional adaptation.
Behavioral inhibition; emotional bias; construct validity; go/no-go task
The Philadelphia Face Perception Battery (PFPB) tests four aspects of face perception: discrimination of facial similarity, attractiveness, gender, and age. Calibration with 116 neurologically intact subjects yielded average performance of ~90%. Across subjects, there was a low correlation (<0.22) in performance between the tests (with the exception of the attractiveness and age discrimination tests) suggesting that the tests measure independent aspects of face perception. There were modest effects of subject demographic factors upon performance, and test-retest reliability scores (between 0.37 and 0.75) were comparable to other neuropsychological batteries. Modification of the stimuli to obscure internal facial features lowered performance on the age, gender, and attractiveness discrimination tests between 2 and 4 standard deviations. The clinical sensitivity of the battery was demonstrated by testing a patient with acquired prosopagnosia. She showed performance impairments of between 2 and 4 standard deviations on all sub-tests. The PFPB is freely available for non-commercial use.
Face perception; prosopagnosia; facial beauty; neuropsychological testing
Patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be slow at switching between stimuli, or between sets of stimuli to control behaviour appropriate to changing situations. We examined clinical and experimental parameters that may influence the speed of such processes measured in the trail-making (TMT) and switch-tasks in cases with ADHD combined-type, their non-affected siblings and unrelated healthy controls. The latency for completion of the trail-making task controlling for psychomotor processing (TMT B–A) was longer for ADHD cases, and correlated with Conners’ ratings of symptom-severity across all subjects. The effect decreased with age. Switch-task responses to questions of “Which number?” and “How many?” between sets of 1/111 or 3/333 elicited differential increases in latency with condition that affected all groups. But there was evidence for increased symptom-related intra-individual variability among the ADHD cases, and across all subjects. Young siblings showed familiality for some measures of TMT and switch-task performance but these were modest. The potential influence of moderator variables on the efficiency of processing stimulus change rather than the speed of processing are discussed.
ADHD; attention; heritability; risk; siblings; set; switch; trail-making
Failures of episodic retrospective memory (RetM) are among the most frequently reported cognitive complaints endorsed by individuals living with HIV infection. The present study sought to examine the nature, frequency, and determinants of self-reported complaints of prospective memory (ProM) in HIV, which is a singly dissociable and ecologically relevant aspect of episodic memory involving the execution of future intentions. Seventy-five HIV seropositive individuals and 60 seronegative volunteers were administered the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PMRQ) as part of extensive neuropsychological, psychiatric, and medical research assessments. The HIV sample endorsed more frequent ProM complaints in daily life than the seronegative group, particularly on items requiring self-initiated cue detection and retrieval. Within both study groups, ProM complaints were significantly more frequent than RetM complaints. Although the HIV sample was impaired relative to the seronegative group on an objective, performance-based ProM test, self-reported ProM complaints did not correspond to actual ProM abilities. However, greater frequency of self-reported ProM complaints was moderately associated with increased fatigue, as well as with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Consistent with prior research on RetM in HIV, results indicate that affective distress contributes to a metamemory deficit for HIV-associated ProM impairment, which highlights the potential importance of assessing both self-reported and performance-based ProM in clinical and research neuroAIDS evaluations.
Human immunodeficiency virus; Neuropsychological assessment; Self-report; Fatigue; Episodic memory; Metacognition
Normative neuropsychological data for U.S. racial/ethnic minorities is limited. Extant norms are based on small, regional groups that may not be nationally representative. The objectives of this study were to 1) provide norms for a modified Symbol Digit Modalities Test (M-SDMT) based on a nationally representative sample of African Americans, Caribbean Blacks and non-Latino Whites (NLW) living in areas with large populations of Blacks, and 2) determine significant correlates of M-SDMT performance. The M-SDMT was administered to a subset of respondents from the National Survey of American Life in standard, face-to-face interviews. M-SDMT performance was influenced by race/ethnicity, age, education, and gender. African Americans and NLW groups had similar M-SDMT performances, which differed from Caribbean Blacks. The Black ethnic differences in M-SDMT were not explained by the sociodemographic factors considered in this study. Unlike previous work, this study supports the consideration of Black ethnicity when evaluating Black neuropsychological test performance.
African Americans; Caribbean Blacks; Blacks; Neuropsychological Tests