Testing cognitive function in elderly populations: The PROSPER study

P. J. Houx, J. Shepherd, G. J. Blauw, M. B. Murphy, I. Ford, E. L. Bollen, B. Buckley, D. J. Stott, W. Jukema, M. Hyland, A. Gaw, J. Norrie, A. M. Kamper, I. J. Perry, P. W. MacFarlane, A. Edo Meinders, B. J. Sweeney, C. J. Packard, C. Twomey, S. M. CobbeR. G. Westendorp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: For large scale follow up studies with non-demented patients in which cognition is an endpoint, there is a need for short, inexpensive, sensitive, and reliable neuropsychological tests that are suitable for repeated measurements. The commonly used Mini-Mental-State-Examination fulfils only the first two requirements. Methods: In the PROspective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER), 5804 elderly subjects aged 70 to 82 years were examined using a learning test (memory), a coding test (general speed), and a short version of the Stroop test (attention). Data presented here were collected at dual baseline, before randomisation for active treatment. Results: The tests proved to be reliable (with test/retest reliabilities ranging from acceptable (r=0.63) to high (r=0.88) and sensitive to detect small differences in subjects from different age categories. All tests showed significant practice effects: performance increased from the first measurement to the first follow up after two weeks. Conclusion: Normative data are provided that can be used for one time neuropsychological testing as well as for assessing individual and group change. Methods for analysing cognitive change are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-389
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2002

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