Signs and symptoms method in neuropsychology: A preliminary investigation of a standardized clinical interview for assessment of cognitive decline in dementia

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Abstract

Psychologists usually perform a preliminary assessment of the person’s cognitive status through a brief interview conducted before the formal testing. However, this exam has not yet been standardized with ad hoc recommendations in psychology literature. In this work, a standard observational NeuroPsychological Examination (NPE) designed for psychologists was proposed, and its clinical effectiveness evaluated. The NPE was administered to patients referred to a neuropsychological service in a memory clinic over a 2-year period. The NPEs of the patients with Alzheimer dementia (AD), vascular dementia (VaD), and healthy controls (HC) were retrospectively retrieved. Comparisons among the three groups were conducted. Abnormalities/signs identified during the NPE in the AD and VaD groups are more numerous compared to those reported in the HC group. About 80% of HCs show none or only one abnormal sign. Vice versa, 87.5% of both AD and VaD patients show three or more abnormalities. Accordingly, the NPE has 0.88 (95%CI = 0.81–0.95) sensitivity and 0.95 (95%CI = 0.88–1.02) specificity for detecting cognitive decline when a cut-point of three or more signs is applied. Some significant differences also emerge on the number of pathological signs between AD and VaD patients. NPE is a promising tool with demonstrated diagnostic utility in dementia patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Neuropsychology:Adult
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jul 16 2019

Keywords

  • Cognitive symptoms
  • Mental Status test
  • neurocognitive test
  • neuropsychology
  • signs and symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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