Practice effects are improvements in cognitive test performance associated with repeated administrations of same or similar measures and are traditionally seen as error variance. However, there is growing evidence that practice effects provide clinically useful information.
Within-session practice effects (WISPE) across 2 h were collected from 61 non-consecutive patients referred for suspected dementia and compared to the Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE), a screening measure of dementia severity.
In all patients, WISPE on two cognitive measures were significantly correlated with MMSE, even after controlling for baseline cognitive scores (partial r = 0.47, p < 0.001; partial r = 0.26, p = 0.046). In patients diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease, the trend was even stronger (partial r = 0.72, p < 0.01; partial r = 0.58, p = 0.046). In both groups, lower WISPE were associated with lower MMSE scores (i.e. greater dementia severity), even after controlling for initial cognitive scores.
If future research validates these findings with longitudinal studies, then WISPE may have important clinical applications in dementia evaluations.
Kevin Duff, PhD
Center for Alzheimer's Care, Imaging and Research
University of Utah, Department of Neurology
650 Komas Drive No. 106-A, Salt Lake City, UT 84108 (USA)
Tel. +1 801 585 9983, E-Mail email@example.com
Accepted: May 4, 2012
Published online: June 11, 2012
Number of Print Pages : 5
Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Vol. 33, No. 4, Year 2012 (Cover Date: July 2012)
Journal Editor: Chan-Palay V. (Boston, Mass.)
ISSN: 1420-8008 (Print), eISSN: 1421-9824 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/DEM
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