Researchers Study the Accuracy of Cognitive Assessments (Virtual) to Diagnose Dementia

May, 2021 - By WMR

Researchers Study the Accuracy of Cognitive Assessments (Virtual) to Diagnose Dementia

A study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that examined the reliability and accuracy of virtual cognitive assessments, as compared to in-person assessments.

Dementia refers to the various symptoms of ‘cognitive decline’ that include forgetfulness, impairment in memory, communication, and thinking, among others. The condition arises due to various underlying brain disorders and other diseases. During the current COVID times, the treatment of dementia is being done virtually using video conference or telecommunication networks. Researchers studying about dementia are also studying about whether the virtually conducted cognitive assessments are accurate and reliable, when compared to the in-person assessments conducted to diagnose dementia or even for diagnosing other mild cognitive impairments.

The researcher’s analysis was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The analysis was conducted by St. Michael’s Hospital-Unity Health in Toronto.  The analysis consisted of 121 studies on cognitive assessments. Researchers found three studies, where virtual cognitive assessments were compared with in-person assessments. The analyses indicated that the virtual cognitive assessments showcased good reliability and accuracy, while diagnosing dementia in patients. However, the researchers did not find any study comparing telephone cognitive assessments to compare it with in-person assessment. This analysis by the investigators also identified the virtual cognitive test cut-offs that suggests dementia or other mild cognitive impairments in patients. The researchers also observed the barriers that the cognitive assessments consist of while assessing older adults. 

The lead author of the study, Jennifer A. Watt, mentioned that the results conducted by them showcased some considerable knowledge gaps as well as some other challenges when virtual cognitive assessments are being considered for older adults who use virtual care through telephone. The study is titled “Diagnostic accuracy of virtual cognitive assessment and testing: Systematic review and meta‚Äźanalysis” and is published recently in 2021.

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