Reference Data for Attentional, Executive, Linguistic, and Visual Processing Tests Obtained from Cognitively Healthy Individuals with Normal Alzheimer's Disease Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarker Levels
J Alzheimers Dis. 2023;95(1):237-249. doi: 10.3233/JAD-230290.
BACKGROUND: Conventional neuropsychological norms likely include cognitively unimpaired (CU) individuals with preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology (amyloid-β, tau, and neurodegeneration) since they are based on cohorts without AD biomarkers data. Due to this limitation, population-based norms would lack sensitivity for detecting subtle cognitive decline due to AD, the transitional stage between healthy cognition and mild cognitive impairment. We have recently published norms for memory tests in individuals with normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) AD biomarker levels.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to provide further AD biomarker-based cognitive references covering attentional, executive function, linguistic, and visual processing tests.
METHODS: We analyzed 248 CU individuals aged between 50-70 years old with normal CSF Aβ, p-tau, and neurodegeneration (t-tau) biomarker levels. The tests included were the Trail Making Test (TMT), Semantic Fluency Test, Digit and Symbol Span, Coding, Matrix Reasoning, Judgement of Line Orientation and Visual Puzzles. Normative data were developed based on regression models adjusted for age, education, and sex when needed. We present equations to calculate z-scores, the corresponding normative percentile tables, and online calculators.
RESULTS: Age, education, and sex were associated with performance in all tests, except education for the TMT-A, and sex for the TMT-B, Coding, and Semantic Fluency. Cut-offs derived from the current biomarker-based reference data were higher and more sensitive than standard norms.
CONCLUSION: We developed reference data obtained from individuals with evidence of non-pathologic AD biomarker levels that may improve the objective characterization of subtle cognitive decline in preclinical AD.