Using the Guttman scale to define and estimate measurement error in items over time: the case of cognitive decline and the meaning of "points lost".
ABSTRACT: We used a Guttman model to represent responses to test items over time as an approximation of what is often referred to as "points lost" in studies of cognitive decline or interventions. To capture this meaning of "point loss", over four successive assessments, we assumed that once an item is incorrect, it cannot be correct at a later visit. If the loss of a point represents actual decline, then failure of an item to fit the Guttman model over time can be considered measurement error. This representation and definition of measurement error also permits testing the hypotheses that measurement error is constant for items in a test, and that error is independent of "true score", which are two key consequences of the definition of "measurement error"--and thereby, reliability--under Classical Test Theory. We tested the hypotheses by fitting our model to, and comparing our results from, four consecutive annual evaluations in three groups of elderly persons: a) cognitively normal (NC, N?=?149); b) diagnosed with possible or probable AD (N?=?78); and c) cognitively normal initially and a later diagnosis of AD (converters, N?=?133). Of 16 items that converged, error-free measurement of "cognitive loss" was observed for 10 items in NC, eight in converters, and two in AD. We found that measurement error, as we defined it, was inconsistent over time and across cognitive functioning levels, violating the theory underlying reliability and other psychometric characteristics, and key regression assumptions.
Project description:To realize an individual-level risk evaluation of progression of early Alzheimer's disease (AD), we applied an AD resemblance atrophy index (AD-RAI) to differentiate the subjects at risk of progression from normal subjects (NC) to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and from MCI to AD. We included 183 subjects with a two-year follow-up: 50 NC stable (NCs), 23 NC-to-MCI converters (NCc), 50 MCI stable (MCIs), 35 MCI-to-AD converters (MCIc), 25 AD stable (ADs). ANCOVA analyses were used to identify baseline brain atrophy in converters compared with non-converters. To explore the relative merits of AD-RAI over individual regional volumetric measures in prediction of disease progression, we searched for the optimal cutoff for each measure in logistic regressions and plotted the longitudinal trajectories of these brain volumetric measures in converters and non-converters. Baseline AD-RAI performed the best in differentiating NCc from NCs (odds ratio 26.35, AUC 0.740) and MCIc from MCIs (odds ratio 8.91, AUC 0.771). The AD-RAI presented greater increase in the second year for NCc vs. NCs but not for MCIc vs. MCIs. Baseline AD-RAIs were also associated with CSF-based and PET-based AD biomarkers. These results showed the potential of AD-RAI in early risk estimation before progression to MCI/AD at an individual-level.
Project description:To determine whether systemic medical factors, such as vascular risk factors, metabolic and inflammatory markers contribute to cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease (PD); if confirmed to determine whether a clinically applicable risk factor model can predict the conversion from normal cognition (NC) to mild cognitive impairment (MCI). 58 patients who met the UK Brain Bank Criteria for PD underwent clinical and laboratory assessment at study entry; 47 patients were re-assessed after 2 years. Medical history, vascular risk (QRISK2), blood metabolic and inflammatory factors, brain vessel examinations, activity of daily living, and neuropsychological testing were performed. Forty patients had NC and 18 patients had MCI at baseline. Patients with MCI had higher level of interleukin 6, folic acid below normal range and higher L-dopa equivalent dose compared to cognitive normal patients at baseline. Patients with NC at baseline were classified into two groups: patients who remained cognitively normal (non-converters, n?=?23) and patients who progressed to MCI (converters, n?=?11). MCI converters were older at baseline and had higher QRISK2 than the non-converters. Patients with higher QRISK2, lower uric acid level and lower activity of daily living scale at baseline had a higher risk of converting from NC to MCI with a sensitivity of 72.2%, a specificity of 87%, and an overall accuracy of 82.4%. Systemic medical factors are associated with cognitive impairment in PD both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. A risk factor model predicting the decline from NC to MCI could be constructed.
Project description:The goal was to elucidate the time course of regional brain atrophy rates relative to age in cognitively normal (CN) aging, mild cognitively impairment (MCI), and Alzheimer's disease (AD), without a priori models for atrophy progression. Regional brain volumes from 147 cognitively normal subjects, 164 stable MCI, 93 MCI-to-AD converters and 111 ad patients, between 51 and 91 years old and who had repeated 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans over 30 months, were analyzed. Relations between regional brain volume change and age were determined using generalized additive models, an established nonparametric concept for approximating nonlinear relations. Brain atrophy rates varied nonlinearly with age, predominantly in regions of the temporal lobe. Moreover, the atrophy rates of some regions leveled off with increasing age in control and stable MCI subjects whereas those rates progressed further in MCI-to-AD converters and AD patients. The approach has potential uses for early detection of AD and differentiation between stable and progressing MCI.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>To investigate whether amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) identified with visual memory tests conveys an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (risk-AD) and if the risk-AD differs from that associated with aMCI based on verbal memory tests.<h4>Participants</h4>4,771 participants aged 70.76 (SD = 6.74, 45.4% females) from five community-based studies, each a member of the international COSMIC consortium and from a different country, were classified as having normal cognition (NC) or one of visual, verbal, or combined (visual and verbal) aMCI using international criteria and followed for an average of 2.48 years. Hazard ratios (HR) and individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis analyzed the risk-AD with age, sex, education, single/multiple domain aMCI, and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores as covariates.<h4>Results</h4>All aMCI groups (n = 760) had a greater risk-AD than NC (n = 4,011; HR range = 3.66 - 9.25). The risk-AD was not different between visual (n = 208, 17 converters) and verbal aMCI (n = 449, 29 converters, HR = 1.70, 95%CI: 0.88, 3.27, p = 0.111). Combined aMCI (n = 103, 12 converters, HR = 2.34, 95%CI: 1.13, 4.84, p = 0.023) had a higher risk-AD than verbal aMCI. Age and MMSE scores were related to the risk-AD. The IPD meta-analyses replicated these results, though with slightly lower HR estimates (HR range = 3.68, 7.43) for aMCI vs. NC.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Although verbal aMCI was most common, a significant proportion of participants had visual-only or combined visual and verbal aMCI. Compared with verbal aMCI, the risk-AD was the same for visual aMCI and higher for combined aMCI. Our results highlight the importance of including both verbal and visual memory tests in neuropsychological assessments to more reliably identify aMCI.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>This study investigated the diagnostic and disease-monitoring potential of plasma biomarkers in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia and cognitively unimpaired (CU) individuals.<h4>Methods</h4>Plasma was analyzed using Simoa assays from 99 CU, 107 MCI, and 103 AD dementia participants.<h4>Results</h4>Phosphorylated-tau181 (P-tau181), neurofilament light, amyloid-β (Aβ42/40), Total-tau and Glial fibrillary acidic protein were altered in AD dementia but P-tau181 significantly outperformed all biomarkers in differentiating AD dementia from CU (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.91). P-tau181 was increased in MCI converters compared to non-converters. Higher P-tau181 was associated with steeper cognitive decline and gray matter loss in temporal regions. Longitudinal change of P-tau181 was strongly associated with gray matter loss in the full sample and with Aβ measures in CU individuals.<h4>Discussion</h4>P-tau181 detected AD at MCI and dementia stages and was strongly associated with cognitive decline and gray matter loss. These findings highlight the potential value of plasma P-tau181 as a non-invasive and cost-effective diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in AD.
Project description:Medial temporal lobe (MTL) atrophy is a key feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD), however, it also occurs in typical aging. To enhance the clinical utility of this biomarker, we need to better understand the differential effects of age and AD by encompassing the full AD-continuum from cognitively unimpaired (CU) to dementia, including all MTL subregions with up-to-date approaches and using longitudinal designs to assess atrophy more sensitively. Age-related trajectories were estimated using the best-fitted polynomials in 209 CU adults (aged 19–85). Changes related to AD were investigated among amyloid-negative (Aβ−) (n = 46) and amyloid-positive (Aβ+) (n = 14) CU, Aβ+ patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (n = 33) and AD (n = 31). Nineteen MCI-to-AD converters were also compared with 34 non-converters. Relationships with cognitive functioning were evaluated in 63 Aβ+ MCI and AD patients. All participants were followed up to 47 months. MTL subregions, namely, the anterior and posterior hippocampus (aHPC/pHPC), entorhinal cortex (ERC), Brodmann areas (BA) 35 and 36 [as perirhinal cortex (PRC) substructures], and parahippocampal cortex (PHC), were segmented from a T1-weighted MRI using a new longitudinal pipeline (LASHiS). Statistical analyses were performed using mixed models. Adult lifespan models highlighted both linear (PRC, BA35, BA36, PHC) and nonlinear (HPC, aHPC, pHPC, ERC) trajectories. Group comparisons showed reduced baseline volumes and steeper volume declines over time for most of the MTL subregions in Aβ+ MCI and AD patients compared to Aβ− CU, but no differences between Aβ− and Aβ+ CU or between Aβ+ MCI and AD patients (except in ERC). Over time, MCI-to-AD converters exhibited a greater volume decline than non-converters in HPC, aHPC, and pHPC. Most of the MTL subregions were related to episodic memory performances but not to executive functioning or speed processing. Overall, these results emphasize the benefits of studying MTL subregions to distinguish age-related changes from AD. Interestingly, MTL subregions are unequally vulnerable to aging, and those displaying non-linear age-trajectories, while not damaged in preclinical AD (Aβ+ CU), were particularly affected from the prodromal stage (Aβ+ MCI). This volume decline in hippocampal substructures might also provide information regarding the conversion from MCI to AD-dementia. All together, these findings provide new insights into MTL alterations, which are crucial for AD-biomarkers definition.
Project description:Abstract Introduction Understanding the associations among depression, subjective cognitive decline, and prodromal Alzheimer's disease (AD) has important implications for both depression and dementia screening in older adults. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a depression screening tool for older adults that queries memory concerns. To determine whether depression symptoms on the GDS (15?item version), including self?reported memory problems, differ by levels of brain amyloid beta (A?), a pathological hallmark of early stage AD, we investigated potential measurement bias with regard to A? level. We also examined measurement bias attributable to level of cognitive functioning and sex as positive controls. Methods We examined 3961 cognitively normal older adults from the A4/LEARN Study. We used the MIMIC (multiple indicators, multiple causes) approach to detect measurement bias. Results We found measurement bias with small?to?moderate range effect sizes in several GDS?15 items with respect to A? level, cognitive functioning, and sex. There was negligible impact of measurement bias attributable to A? level on overall depressive symptom level. Discussion GDS?15 item responses are sensitive to A? burden, cognitive functioning, and sex over and above what would be expected given the effect of those factors on depressive symptom severity overall. However, these direct effects for GDS item measurement bias are of small magnitude and do not appreciably impact the validity of inferences about depression based on the GDS?15.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Elevated blood pressure is linked to cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarker abnormality. However, blood pressure levels vary over time. Less is known about the role of long-term blood pressure variability in cognitive impairment and AD pathophysiology.<h4>Objective</h4>Determine whether long-term blood pressure variability is elevated across the clinical and biomarker spectrum of AD.<h4>Methods</h4>Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative participants (cognitively normal, mild cognitive impairment, AD [n = 1,421]) underwent baseline exam, including blood pressure measurement at 0, 6, and 12 months. A subset (n = 318) underwent baseline lumbar puncture to determine cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-β and phosphorylated tau levels. Clinical groups and biomarker-confirmed AD groups were compared on blood pressure variability over 12 months.<h4>Results</h4>Systolic blood pressure variability was elevated in clinically diagnosed AD dementia (VIM: F2,1195 = 6.657, p = 0.001, η2 = 0.01) compared to cognitively normal participants (p = 0.001), and in mild cognitive impairment relative to cognitively normal participants (p = 0.01). Findings were maintained in biomarker-confirmed AD (VIM: F2,850 = 5.216, p = 0.006, η2 = 0.01), such that systolic blood pressure variability was elevated in biomarker-confirmed dementia due to AD relative to cognitively normal participants (p = 0.005) and in biomarker-confirmed mild cognitive impairment due to AD compared to cognitively normal participants (p = 0.04).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Long-term systolic blood pressure variability is elevated in cognitive impairment due to AD. Blood pressure variability may represent an understudied aspect of vascular dysfunction in AD with potential clinical implications.
Project description:Identifying subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who may probably progress to Alzheimer's disease (AD) is important for better understanding the disease mechanisms and facilitating early treatments. In addition to the direct volumetric and thickness measurement based on high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), hemispheric asymmetry could be a potential index to detect morphological variations in MCI patients with a high risk of conversion to AD. The present study collected a set of longitudinal MRI data from 53 MCI converters and nonconverters and investigated the asymmetry differences between groups. Asymmetry variation was observed in the medial temporal lobe, especially in the entorhinal cortex, between converters and nonconverters 3 years before the former developed AD. The proposed asymmetry analysis was observed to be sensitive to detect morphological changes between groups as compared to the methods of voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and thickness measurement. Hemispheric asymmetry in specific brain regions as a neuroimaging biomarker can provide helpful information for prediction of MCI conversion.
Project description:The disruption of iron metabolism and iron transport proteins have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Serum melanotransferrin (MTf), a transferrin homolog capable of reversibly binding iron, has been proposed as a biochemical marker of AD. MTf has also been shown to be elevated in iron-rich reactive microglia near amyloid plaques in AD. We examined the association of CSF MTf to hippocampal volumes and cognitive tests in 86 cognitively normal, 135 mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 66 AD subjects. CSF was collected at baseline for MTf, A?, total-tau and phosphorylated-tau measurements. Serial cognitive testing with ADAS-Cog13, Rey's auditory visual learning test (RAVLT), mini-mental state examination (MMSE) were performed alongside hippocampal MRI volumetric analysis for up to 10 years after baseline measurements. High levels of baseline CSF MTf were positively associated with baseline hippocampal volume (R 2 = 22%, ? = 0.202, and p = 0.017) and RAVLT scores (R 2 = 7.30%, ? = -0.178, and p = 0.043) and negatively correlated to ADAS-Cog13 (R 2 = 17.3%, ? = 0.247, and p = 0.003) scores in MCI subjects. Interestingly, MCI subjects that converted to AD demonstrated significantly lower levels of CSF MTf (p = 0.020) compared to MCI non-converters at baseline. We suggest the diminished CSF MTf observed in MCI-converters to AD may arise from impaired transport of MTf from blood into the brain tissue/CSF and/or increased MTf export from the CSF into the blood arising from attenuated competition with reduced levels of CSF A?. Further investigations are required to determine the source of CSF MTf and how brain MTf is regulated by cellular barriers, A? and activated microglia that surround plaques in AD pathophysiology. In conclusion, low CSF MTf may identify those MCI individuals at risk of converting to AD.