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CANTAB object recognition and language tests to detect aging cognitive decline: an exploratory comparative study

Authors Cabral Soares F, Galdino de Oliveira TC, Dias e Dias de Macedo L, Mendonça Tomás A, Wanderley Picanco Diniz DL, Bento-Torres J, Valim Bento-Torres N, Picanco-Diniz CW

Received 4 July 2014

Accepted for publication 1 October 2014

Published 19 December 2014 Volume 2015:10 Pages 37—48


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Zhi-Ying Wu

Fernanda Cabral Soares,1 Thaís Cristina Galdino de Oliveira,1 Liliane Dias e Dias de Macedo,1 Alessandra Mendonça Tomás,1 Domingos Luiz Wanderley Picanço-Diniz,2 João Bento-Torres,1,3 Natáli Valim Oliver Bento-Torres,1,3 Cristovam Wanderley Picanço-Diniz1

1Universidade Federal do Pará, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Hospital Universitário João de Barros Barreto, Laboratório de Investigações em Neurodegeneração e Infecção Belém, Pará, Brazil; 2Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará, Núcleo Universitário de Oriximiná, Oriximiná, Pará, Brazil; 3Faculdade de Fisioterapia e Terapia Ocupacional, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, Pará, Brazil

Objective: The recognition of the limits between normal and pathological aging is essential to start preventive actions. The aim of this paper is to compare the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) and language tests to distinguish subtle differences in cognitive performances in two different age groups, namely young adults and elderly cognitively normal subjects.
Method: We selected 29 young adults (29.9±1.06 years) and 31 older adults (74.1±1.15 years) matched by educational level (years of schooling). All subjects underwent a general assessment and a battery of neuropsychological tests, including the Mini Mental State Examination, visuospatial learning, and memory tasks from CANTAB and language tests. Cluster and discriminant analysis were applied to all neuropsychological test results to distinguish possible subgroups inside each age group.
Results: Significant differences in the performance of aged and young adults were detected in both language and visuospatial memory tests. Intragroup cluster and discriminant analysis revealed that CANTAB, as compared to language tests, was able to detect subtle but significant differences between the subjects.
Conclusion: Based on these findings, we concluded that, as compared to language tests, large-scale application of automated visuospatial tests to assess learning and memory might increase our ability to discern the limits between normal and pathological aging.

Keywords: aging, neuropsychological tests, cluster analysis, discriminant analysis

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