Background: The development of better treatments for brain diseases of the elderly will necessitate more sensitive and efficient means of repeatedly assessing an individual's neurocognitive status.
Aim: To illustrate the development of an assessment combining episodic memory and working memory tasks with simultaneous electroencephalography and evoked potential (EP) brain function measures.
Methods: Data from matched groups of elderly subjects with mildly impaired episodic verbal memory on neuropsychological tests and those with no objective signs of impairment were used for scale development. An exploratory multivariate divergence analysis selected task performance and neurophysiological variables that best recognized impairment. Discriminant validity was then initially assessed on separate impaired and unimpaired groups.
Results: Decreased response accuracy and parietal late positive component EP amplitude in the episodic memory task best characterized impaired subjects. Sensitivity in recognizing impairment in the validation analysis was 89% with 79% specificity (area under the curve = 0.94). Retest reliability was 0.89 for the unimpaired and 0.74 for the impaired validation groups.
Conclusion: These promising initial results suggest that with further refinement and testing, an assessment combining cognitive task performance with simultaneous neurofunctional measures could eventually provide an important benefit for clinicians and researchers.
Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.