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Australian neuropsychological normative study of older persons

Dr Nicole Kochan, Prof Perminder Sachdev, Prof Henry Brodaty, Prof Kaarin Anstey, Dr Melissa Slavin
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution
Project Description

This project aims to develop comprehensive normative data for a number of neuropsychological tests of memory, attention and other cognitive abilities that are commonly used in the assessment and diagnosis of dementia and milder forms of cognitive impairment.

Normative data are used by psychologists and researchers to provide information about whether the individual being assessed is performing normally or not, on various tests. There are very little Australian normative data available and data derived from North American samples are typically used. Initial studies from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (MAS) suggest important differences exist in test performance of Australians and US normative groups which may affect diagnostic accuracy.

This project will develop local normative data from 1037 MAS participants who underwent a comprehensive battery of 12 neuropsychological tests measuring seven cognitive domains. These "norms" will be made available to clinicians and researchers and should improve practice. Applying standard normative data that are based on samples of native English speakers to persons of non-English speaking background may lead to misdiagnosis of cognitive impairment.

This project is investigating ways to improve diagnostic accuracy in persons of non-English speaking background by examining cultural, linguistic and educational factors that may influence cognitive performance. We have identified two main factors that influence performance:

  1. the degree of English language dominance and acculturation in day-to-day life,

    and

  2. the individual’s past and current exposure to English. As expected, in the main, these factors affect test performance on verbal tests including verbal memory measures but some non-verbal tests are affected too.

 

Alzheimer's Association International Conference, Denmark July 2014
Poster - Large view

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