The need for harmonization and innovation of neuropsychological assessment in neurodegenerative dementias in Europe: consensus document of the Joint Program for Neurodegenerative Diseases Working Group

Alberto Costa, Thomas Bak, Paolo Caffarra, Carlo Caltagirone, Mathieu Ceccaldi, Fabienne Collette, Sebastian Crutch, Sergio Della Sala, Jean François Démonet, B. Dubois, Emrah Duzel, P Nestor, Sokratis Papageorgiou, Eric Salmon, Sietske Sikkes, Pietro Tiraboschi, Wiesje M van der Flier, Pieter Jelle Visser, Stefano Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cognitive, behavioural and functional assessment is crucial in longitudinal studies of neurodegenerative dementias (NDD). Central issues, such as the definition of the study population (asymptomatic, at risk or individuals with dementia), the detection of change/decline and the assessment of relevant outcomes depend from quantitative measures of cognitive, behavioural and functional status
Currently, we are far from having available reliable protocols and tools for the assessment of dementias in Europe. The main problems are the heterogeneity of the tools used across different European countries, the lack of standardization of administration and scoring methods across centres, and the limited information available about the psychometric properties of many tests currently in widespread use. This situation makes it hard to compare results across studies carried out in different centres, thus hampering research progress, in particular towards the contribution to a "big data" common data set.
We present here the results of a project funded by the Joint Program for Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND) and by the Italian Ministry of Health. The project aimed at providing a consensus framework for the harmonization of assessment tools to be applied to research in neurodegenerative disorders affecting cognition across Europe. A panel of European experts reviewed the current methods of neuropsychological assessment, identified pending issues and made recommendations for the harmonization of neuropsychological assessment of neurodegenerative dementias in Europe.
A consensus was achieved on the general recommendations to be followed in developing procedures and tools for neuropsychological assessment, with the aim of harmonizing tools and procedures to achieve more reliable data on the cognitive-behavioural examination. The results of this study should be considered as a first step to enhance a common view and practice on NDD assessment across European countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAlzheimer's research & therapy
Volume9
Issue number27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • neurodegenerative dementia
  • cognitive assessment
  • behavioural assessment
  • neuropsychological tests
  • longitudinal studies
  • European research

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