Slower Speed of Processing may be Associated with Cognitive Deficits

Stanford University Researchers are presenting the following research findings at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference on the Prevention of Dementia in Washington D.C. today June 20, 2005 using Cognitive Labs Cognometer technology, which refers to our entire battery of 11 tests - the same technology used in MemCheck and Memory For Life and also on licensed sites. We are excited to bring this technology to the world so that more can benefit, whether it is on mobile platforms, the Internet, retail, and in clinical settings.

Slower Speed-of-Processing Is Associated with Presence of the Apolipoprotein ε4 Allele

Topic: Clinical assessment

Ruth O'Hara, Kevin Morgan, Helena C. Kraemer, Jerome Yesavage, Joy Taylor, Greer Murphy, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. Contact e-mail: roh@stanford.edu

Presentation Number: O2-05-03

Keyword: APOE, cognition, early detection

BACKGROUND: Detection of preclinical cognitive deficits is important for identifying those at greatest risk for such disorders as Alzheimer’s disease. However, available neuropsychological measures may not be sufficiently sensitive to preclinical cognitive impairment, particularly in high functioning and younger older adults. This study utilizes a battery of computerized cognitive tests (Cognometer) designed to provide a more sensitive measure of age-related cognitive performance by incorporating speed-of-processing components.

OBJECTIVE: To compare performance on the Cognometer battery and on standard neuropsychological tests of 18 subjects with the ε4 allele with that of 33 subjects without the ε4 allele.

METHODS: Fifty-one community-dwelling older adults (18 subjects with the ε4 allele and compared to that of 33 subjects without the ε4 allele) were administered the Cognometer battery, which incorporates speed-of-processing components into measures of verbal, spatial and working memory, attention, and visuo-spatial ability. A brief battery of standard neuropsychological measures including delayed recall, symbol digit and was also administered.

CONCLUSIONS: No significant difference was observed between the two groups with respect to performance on any of the neuropsychological measures. However, with respect to the Cognometer battery, individuals with the ε4 allele were significantly slower in performing all the cognitive tasks, with the exception of the visuo-spatial task. With respect to performance, the two genotype groups did not differ significantly except on immediate memory, with the ε4 group exhibiting increased errors. Overall, the ε4 group was significantly slower in performing all of the Cognometer memory tasks. These findings provide continued support for the negative impact of the ε4 allele on cognition and further suggest that speed-of-processing measures may have the potential to detect subtle cognitive deficits.

Commercial Relationship: R. O'Hara, None; K. Morgan, None; H.C. Kraemer, None; J. Yesavage, None; J. Taylor, None; G. Murphy, None.

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