How can assessing people’s cognitive abilities reflect changes in cognitive over time?
To understand how Alzheimer’s disease progresses and to evaluate effective treatments assessing cognition is important. However, assessments can be time consuming and not accurately reflect change in cognition over time. The Capturing Changes in Cognition (CatCh-Cog) study is looking to address these issues and develop a sensitive and time saving cognitive assessment.
Kate Forsyth, the study’s coordinator, tells us more:
What are the main aims of the study?
In a memory clinic, a neuropsychological assessment is often carried out. This assessment consists of several tasks that evaluate a person’s
cognitive functions, for example memory, attention, language and planning skills. These tests are not only necessary for establishing problems in cognitive functioning, but also to monitor improvement or decline in cognitive problems. However, the neuropsychological assessment may take up to several hours and can therefore be burdensome. Research also suggests that these tests could be improved upon to better reflect everyday functioning and monitor clinically relevant change (i.e. change that provides information about the disease progression) over time.
This study aims to develop a new, short measure that is able to detect changes in cognition and everyday functioning. This new measure will consist of neuropsychological tests and a questionnaire.
What does it involve for a participant? How long is the study for?
Participants will be asked to take part for 12 months. During this time we will schedule four study visits, namely a baseline (starting) visit and follow-up visits after 3, 6 and 12 months. For the visits, participants can either attend The Centre for Dementia Prevention (behind the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh) or a member of the research team can visit participants at home. Participants will be asked to complete a number of neuropsychological tests and questionnaires at each visit. In total, these will take approximately 90 minutes per visit.
Participants will also be required to have a “Project Partner”: someone who knows them well enough to answer some questions about their memory and daily activities. They will need to be at each visit to answer some questions. In total, their part will last for around 45 minutes.
What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?
We hope to develop an assessment of cognition that accurately captures changes over time. This is important for us to understand how Alzheimer’s disease progresses over time and for us to accurately evaluate the effect of therapeutic treatments. We hope to take into account people’s cognitive abilities in daily living and reflect this in our overall assessment score, making the results more relevant to people whose cognition is being assessed and their families.
We also hope to reduce people’s burden in conducting these assessments by providing a short and succinct assessment of cognition that is still sensitive and accurate in capturing changes over time. We also hope that by offering study visits at home we reduce the potential time and travel burden of taking part in research.
Who can take part?
• Men and Women 50 or over with a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Alzheimer’s disease
• Must have a project partner who can attend each study visit
• Must live within the Lothian region of Scotland
A member of the research team would also ask a few further health-related questions before arranging a study visit to ensure that all participants are suitable to take part.
You can see if you are eligible for this study or others around the nation by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.
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