The need for harmonisation and innovation of neuropsychological assessment in neurodegenerative dementias in Europe: consensus document of the Joint Program for Neurodegenerative Diseases Working Group

Alzheimers Res Ther. 2017 Apr 17;9(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s13195-017-0254-x.


Cognitive, behavioural, and functional assessment is crucial in longitudinal studies of neurodegenerative dementias (NDD). Central issues, such as the definition of the study population (asymptomatic, at risk, or individuals with dementia), the detection of change/decline, and the assessment of relevant outcomes depend on quantitative measures of cognitive, behavioural, and functional status.Currently, we are far from having available reliable protocols and tools for the assessment of dementias in Europe. The main problems are the heterogeneity of the tools used across different European countries, the lack of standardisation of administration and scoring methods across centres, and the limited information available about the psychometric properties of many tests currently in widespread use. This situation makes it hard to compare results across studies carried out in different centres, thus hampering research progress, in particular towards the contribution to a "big data" common data set.We present here the results of a project funded by the Joint Program for Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND) and by the Italian Ministry of Health. The project aimed at providing a consensus framework for the harmonisation of assessment tools to be applied to research in neurodegenerative disorders affecting cognition across Europe. A panel of European experts reviewed the current methods of neuropsychological assessment, identified pending issues, and made recommendations for the harmonisation of neuropsychological assessment of neurodegenerative dementias in Europe.A consensus was achieved on the general recommendations to be followed in developing procedures and tools for neuropsychological assessment, with the aim of harmonising tools and procedures to achieve more reliable data on the cognitive-behavioural examination. The results of this study should be considered as a first step to enhancing a common view and practise on NDD assessment across European countries.

Keywords: Behavioural assessment; Cognitive assessment; European research; Longitudinal studies; Neurodegenerative dementia; Neuropsychological tests.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests*