Researchers find phone assessment effective for evaluating cognition in the elderly

Sep 15, 2009

Cognitive testing by telephone in elderly individuals is generally as effective as in-person testing, according to a new study by Effie M. Mitsis, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and part of Mount Sinai's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. The study will appear in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The study is the first to evaluate the effectiveness of telephone assessment in an elderly cohort using well established neuropsychological tests. Fifty-four healthy women with an average age of 79 were divided into two groups and subjected to a series of standard neuropsychological tests, including mental status questions such as identifying the day and time, remembering a series of words or numbers and naming tasks. These tests are sensitive to cognitive decline and are typically used in clinical trials of Alzheimer's Disease to monitor progression or stabilization of memory and thinking ability in elderly individuals. Both groups received in-person assessment of cognition as well as assessment by telephone.

The results indicated that the telephone and in-person assessment were comparable, suggesting that telephone assessment may be a useful, cost-effective and time efficient alternative to in-person assessment of cognition in the elderly.

Cognitive assessment is the most effective method for early detection of dementia but it is not available in all communities. Telephone assessment could provide the opportunity to offer an evaluation to a wider range of people, including those who live in rural areas or at great distances from medical centers.

"Although telephone assessment is not a substitute for in-person assessment as conducted by neuropsychologists, many don't have the resources to access a neuropsychologist or ability to spend hours getting to the doctor's office or clinic to receive an evaluation, especially one that would potentially be conducted every few months should that person decide to participate in a clinical trial," says Dr. Mitsis. "A clinical trial, as those run from our Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, requires people to return frequently for follow up. Using telephone assessments as an alternative, especially assessments that are considered sensitive to memory decline as those used in this study, means we can catch impairment early and monitor any changes that may occur, in a larger number of individuals. These individuals could be then referred for treatment sooner, prior to significant decline in memory and thinking, which will prolong positive outcomes in functioning."

Source: The Mount Sinai Hospital

Explore further: Can video games make your brain level up?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers find new Alzheimer's disease treatment promising

Jul 12, 2009

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that a compound called NIC5-15, might be a safe and effective treatment to stabilize cognitive performance in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The ...

Recommended for you

Offenders turn to mental health services 

1 hour ago

Adult criminal offenders in Western Australian are eight times more likely than non-offenders to use community-based mental health services in the year before their first sentence, a UWA study has found.

Deliberation is staunchest ally of selfishness

2 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Over the last two years, Yale psychologist David Rand and colleagues have investigated what makes people willing to help each other. Their latest research shows that while initial reactions ...

Touch influences how infants learn language

3 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Tickling a baby's toes may be cute but it's also possible that those touches could help babies learn the words in their language. Research from Purdue University shows that a caregiver's ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Deliberation is staunchest ally of selfishness

(Medical Xpress)—Over the last two years, Yale psychologist David Rand and colleagues have investigated what makes people willing to help each other. Their latest research shows that while initial reactions ...

Researchers compare hip width and sexual behavior

In a new study, women who were more inclined to have one-night stands had wider hips, reveals Colin A. Hendrie of the University of Leeds in the UK. He is the lead author of a study into how a woman's build influences her ...

How many moons does Venus have?

There are dozens upon dozens of moons in the Solar System, ranging from airless worlds like Earth's Moon to those with an atmosphere (most notably, Saturn's Titan). Jupiter and Saturn have many moons each, ...