By facilitating precise assessments of thinking and memory on the very same volunteers who have for years participated in health research, we take another step towards new insights in degenerative brain disease.
Why so much focus on cognitive testing?
In the latter stages of dementia, when the disease has fully taken hold, the loss of a person's thinking and memory skills is obvious for friends and family to witness. But this is one of the final stages in a slow decline that has started a decade and more before. Thinking and memory skills are not simple abilities; they are a raft of different, interacting skills which together allow us to function as healthy adults. Cognitive tests allow scientists to unpick exactly which aspects of thinking ability – our 'cognition' – are in decline when a person suffers from dementia. By isolating and assessing different aspects of our cognition, and identifying any decline early, cognitive tests are therefore critical in gaining a clearer picture of the development of dementia and in trials of new treatments.
Collecting cognitive data - in the past and now
Traditionally done using lengthy paper-based tests, cognitive testing has always been an exercise which demands significant time – both for the person sitting the test, and the administration of that test. Thankfully, cognitive assessment science has advanced significantly in recent years and scientists are now able to perform fine-grained assessments of our thinking with quick online or iPad-based tests. Cambridge Cognition and Cognetivity are DPUK partners whose tests give us highly detailed information about the areas in which our brain is performing well - and where it is not.
Although cognitive testing has moved on since the rough measures of our IQ which were first developed, the administrative burden surrounding many of today's cognitive tests can make the exercise prohibitive for smaller cohorts without the resources to support it.
Long-term records enhanced for dementia research
By employing computer-adaptive techniques, and using cloud-based platforms, companies like Cognetivity and Cambridge Cognition are bringing their technology within reach of individual long-term health studies, Together with DPUK-funded work in Edinburgh led by Ian Deary and Chloe Fawns- Ritchie, DPUK is facilitating additional cognitive test data collection. By conducting advanced assessments of thinking and memory on the very same volunteers who have for years participated in health research, DPUK's partnership model brings cohorts much closer to providing insights in this disease.
|Cohort Principal Investigators are invited to access the Integrated Cognitive Assessment platform developed by Cognetivity. Interested cohorts should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss their specific requirements.|