Prof. dr. Vojko Kavčič, univ. dipl. psih.
Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA
Community based approach for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease in at risk African Americans
With the increase in longevity and the rapid increase in the proportion of elderly in the population, it is important to evaluate the earliest risk for dementia accurately in order to guide environmental and clinical interventions for older adults. Community-dwelling, African-American elders are almost twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Development of economically viable and culturally acceptable methods of early detection of cognitive change are therefore critical in minority populations.
We will present initial findings of our ongoing study of computerized cognitive tests and portable electroencephalography (EEG/ERP) methodology to evaluate the ease, accuracy, and efficiency in which these measures can characterize early cognitive decline among African-Americans with and without MCI within their community setting. Additionally, we will also present data related to the feasibility and acceptability of these computer-based and electrophysiological methods. To date we have collected data from a total of 130 at risk African Americans (age ≥ 65 years) who expressed subjective memory complaints with two computerized tests (i.e. CogState and NIH Toolbox), EEG/ERP recordings, and a structured medical/neuropsychological exam. Initial analyses showed that MCI differed from others not only on performance on specific computerized tests, but also demonstrated increased power in EEG delta range (1.5 – 4 Hz).
We believe that our community-based evaluation, combining behavioral and EEG/ERP methods, will establish the utility and acceptability of these measures and potentially generate objective markers that will reliably identify the earliest signs of cognitive decline. These methods hold the promise of generating profiles of at risk healthy, elderly African-Americans, who may, within a short period of time, develop MCI and potentially AD. We expect that with a proper combination of behavioral and EEG/ERP methods, we will be able to develop objective marker that will reliably identify early signs of cognitive decline.