Background: Reliable detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), in many cases preceding AD, is important in determining the efficacy of emerging treatments. The operational definition of MCI is currently imprecise and would be improved by objective criteria. Inherent in the transition from MCI to AD is cognitive decline, which can be detected using multiple assessments over several years.
Objective: To determine whether multiple assessments on the same day could also differentiate well-studied subjects with very mild MCI from normal control subjects.
Methods: This study utilized a novel 15- to 18-minute computerized cognitive battery designed for frequent serial use, administered four times within 3 hours. Subjects were participants in a longitudinal healthy aging study (20 with MCI, 40 control subjects matched for age, gender, and education).
Results: The MCI group showed significantly attenuated learning performance with repetition on accuracy and reaction time tasks. Discriminant function analysis correctly classified 95% of subjects and 80% of those with MCI.
Conclusions: Multiple assessments with standardized, repeatable cognitive measures is a promising method for reliably differentiating patients with early MCI in a single test session and deserves further study for refining patient selection in trials of therapeutic agents for MCI.