Questionnaire Evaluates Everyday Cognition in Elderly

Can distinguish normal and impaired individuals

WEDNESDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- A caregiver-rated questionnaire to evaluate everyday cognitive function in the elderly is effective and can differentiate between cognitively normal and impaired individuals, according to a report in the July issue of Neuropsychology.

Sarah Tomaszewski Farias, Ph.D., from the University of California Davis in Sacramento, Calif., and colleagues developed a caregiver-rated questionnaire, Everyday Cognition, comprised of multiple subscales to assess cognitively mediated functional abilities in older adults. The instrument was validated in caregivers (spouses, adult children, other family members, friends and others) of 576 elderly adults, of whom 174 were cognitively normal, 126 had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, and 276 had been diagnosed with dementia.

The researchers found that the instrument's factor structure consisted of one global factor and six domain-specific factors (everyday memory, language, visuospatial abilities, planning, organization, and divided attention). The questionnaire correlated with established measures of functional status and global cognition, but less well with age and education, and was able to distinguish the clinical groups. The global factor and everyday memory domain could differentiate normal from mild cognitive impairment, the global factor and the everyday language domain could differentiate dementia from mild cognitive impairment, and other patterns could distinguish between mild cognitive impairment subtypes.

"Results suggest the Everyday Cognition [questionnaire] shows promise as a useful tool for the measurement of general and domain-specific everyday functions in the elderly," Farias and colleagues conclude.

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