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Methamphetamine and cannabis are two widely used, and frequently co-used, substances with possibly opposing effects on the central nervous system. Evidence of neurocognitive deficits related to use is robust for methamphetamine and mixed for cannabis. Findings regarding their combined use are inconclusive. We aimed to compare neurocognitive performance in people with lifetime cannabis or methamphetamine use disorder diagnoses, or both, relative to people without substance use disorders.
423 (71.9% male, aged 44.6 ± 14.2 years) participants, stratified by presence or absence of lifetime methamphetamine (M−/M+) and/or cannabis (C−/C+) DSM-IV abuse/dependence, completed a comprehensive neuropsychological, substance use, and psychiatric assessment. Neurocognitive domain T-scores and impairment rates were examined using multiple linear and binomial regression, respectively, controlling for covariates that may impact cognition.
Globally, M+C+ performed worse than M−C− but better than M+C−. M+C+ outperformed M+C− on measures of verbal fluency, information processing speed, learning, memory, and working memory. M−C+ did not display lower performance than M−C− globally or on any domain measures, and M−C+ even performed better than M−C− on measures of learning, memory, and working memory.
Our findings are consistent with prior work showing that methamphetamine use confers risk for worse neurocognitive outcomes, and that cannabis use does not appear to exacerbate and may even reduce this risk. People with a history of cannabis use disorders performed similarly to our nonsubstance using comparison group and outperformed them in some domains. These findings warrant further investigation as to whether cannabis use may ameliorate methamphetamine neurotoxicity.
Emotional functioning is linked to HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment, yet research on this association among diverse people with HIV (PWH) is scant. We examined emotional health and its association with neurocognition in Hispanic and White PWH.
Participants included 107 Hispanic (41% primarily Spanish-speakers; 80% Mexican heritage/origin) and 216 White PWH (Overall age: M = 53.62, SD = 12.19; 86% male; 63% AIDS; 92% on antiretroviral therapy). Emotional health was assessed via the National Institute of Health Toolbox (NIHTB)-Emotion Battery, which yields T-scores for three factor-based summary scores (negative affect, social satisfaction, and psychological well-being) and 13 individual component scales. Neurocognition was measured via demographically adjusted fluid cognition T-scores from the NIHTB-cognition battery.
27%–39% of the sample had problematic socioemotional summary scores. Hispanic PWH showed less loneliness, better social satisfaction, higher meaning and purpose, and better psychological well-being than Whites (ps <.05). Within Hispanics, Spanish-speakers showed better meaning and purpose, higher psychological well-being summary score, less anger hostility, but greater fear affect than English speakers. Only in Whites, worse negative affect (fear affect, perceived stress, and sadness) was associated with worse neurocognition (p <.05); and in both groups, worse social satisfaction (emotional support, friendship, and perceived rejection) was linked with worse neurocognition (p <.05).
Adverse emotional health is common among PWH, with subgroups of Hispanics showing relative strengths in some domains. Aspects of emotional health differentially relate to neurocogntition among PWH and cross-culturally. Understanding these varying associations is an important step towards the development of culturally relevant interventions that promote neurocognitive health among Hispanic PWH.
To determine the reliability of teleneuropsychological (TNP) compared to in-person assessments (IPA) in people with HIV (PWH) and without HIV (HIV−).
Participants included 80 PWH (Mage = 58.7, SDage = 11.0) and 23 HIV− (Mage = 61.9, SDage = 16.7). Participants completed two comprehensive neuropsychological IPA before one TNP during the COVID-19 pandemic (March–December 2020). The neuropsychological tests included: Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R Total and Delayed Recall), Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT; FAS-English or PMR-Spanish), Animal Fluency, Action (Verb) Fluency, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale 3rd Edition (WAIS-III) Symbol Search and Letter Number Sequencing, Stroop Color and Word Test, Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (Channel 1), and Boston Naming Test. Total raw scores and sub-scores were used in analyses. In the total sample and by HIV status, test-retest reliability and performance-level differences were evaluated between the two consecutive IPA (i.e., IPA1 and IPA2), and mean in-person scores (IPA-M), and TNP.
There were statistically significant test-retest correlations between IPA1 and IPA2 (r or ρ = .603–.883, ps < .001), and between IPA-M and TNP (r or ρ = .622–.958, ps < .001). In the total sample, significantly lower test-retest scores were found between IPA-M and TNP on the COWAT (PMR), Stroop Color and Word Test, WAIS-III Letter Number Sequencing, and HVLT-R Total Recall (ps < .05). Results were similar in PWH only.
This study demonstrates reliability of TNP in PWH and HIV−. TNP assessments are a promising way to improve access to traditional neuropsychological services and maintain ongoing clinical research studies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We investigated the impact of culturally relevant social, educational, and language factors on cognitive test performance among Spanish speakers living near the US–Mexico border.
Participants included 254 healthy native Spanish speakers from the Neuropsychological Norms for the US–Mexico Border Region in Spanish (NP-NUMBRS) project (Age: M = 37.3, SD = 10.4; Education: M = 10.7, SD = 4.3; 59% Female). A comprehensive neuropsychological battery was administered in Spanish. Individual test scaled scores and T-scores (based on region-specific norms adjusted for age, education, and sex) were averaged to create Global Mean Scaled and T-scores. Measures of culturally relevant factors included a self-reported indicator of educational quality/access (proportion of education in Spanish-speaking country, quality of school/classroom setting, stopped attending school to work), childhood socioeconomic environment (parental education, proportion of time living in Spanish-speaking country, childhood socioeconomic and health status, access to basic resources, work as a child), and Spanish/English language use and fluency.
Several culturally relevant variables were significantly associated with unadjusted Global Scaled Scores in univariable analyses. When using demographically adjusted T-scores, fewer culturally relevant characteristics were significant. In multivariable analyses, being bilingual (p = .04) and working as a child for one’s own benefit compared to not working as a child (p = .006) were significantly associated with higher Global Mean T-score, accounting for 9% of variance.
Demographically adjusted normative data provide a useful tool for the identification of brain dysfunction, as these account for much of the variance of sociocultural factors on cognitive test performance. Yet, certain culturally relevant variables still contributed to cognitive test performance above and beyond basic demographics, warranting further investigation.
Given the aging population of people with HIV (PWH), along with increasing rates of binge drinking among both PWH and the general older adult population, this study examined the independent and interactive effects of HIV, binge drinking, and age on neurocognition.
Participants were 146 drinkers stratified by HIV and binge drinking status (i.e., ≥4 drinks for women and ≥5 drinks for men within approximately 2 h): HIV+/Binge+ (n = 30), HIV−/Binge+ (n = 23), HIV+/Binge− (n = 55), HIV−/Binge− (n = 38). All participants completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery measuring demographically-corrected global and domain-specific neurocognitive T scores. ANCOVA models examined independent and interactive effects of HIV and binge drinking on neurocognitive outcomes, adjusting for overall alcohol consumption, lifetime substance use, sex, and age. Subsequent multiple linear regressions examined whether HIV/Binge group moderated the relationship between age and neurocognition.
HIV+/Binge+ participants had worse global neurocognition, processing speed, delayed recall, and working memory than HIV−/Binge− participants (p’s < .05). While there were significant main effects of HIV and binge drinking, their interaction did not predict any of those neurocognitive outcomes (p’s > .05). Significant interactions between age and HIV/Binge group showed that HIV+/Binge+ participants demonstrated steeper negative relationships between age and neurocognitive outcomes of learning, delayed recall, and motor skills compared to HIV−/Binge− participants (p’s < .05).
Results showed adverse additive effects of HIV and binge drinking on neurocognitive functioning, with older adults demonstrating the most vulnerability to these effects. Findings support the need for interventions to reduce binge drinking, especially among older PWH.
Recent cannabis exposure has been associated with lower rates of neurocognitive impairment in people with HIV (PWH). Cannabis’s anti-inflammatory properties may underlie this relationship by reducing chronic neuroinflammation in PWH. This study examined relations between cannabis use and inflammatory biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma, and cognitive correlates of these biomarkers within a community-based sample of PWH.
263 individuals were categorized into four groups: HIV− non-cannabis users (n = 65), HIV+ non-cannabis users (n = 105), HIV+ moderate cannabis users (n = 62), and HIV+ daily cannabis users (n = 31). Differences in pro-inflammatory biomarkers (IL-6, MCP-1/CCL2, IP-10/CXCL10, sCD14, sTNFR-II, TNF-α) by study group were determined by Kruskal–Wallis tests. Multivariable linear regressions examined relationships between biomarkers and seven cognitive domains, adjusting for age, sex/gender, race, education, and current CD4 count.
HIV+ daily cannabis users showed lower MCP-1 and IP-10 levels in CSF compared to HIV+ non-cannabis users (p = .015; p = .039) and were similar to HIV− non-cannabis users. Plasma biomarkers showed no differences by cannabis use. Among PWH, lower CSF MCP-1 and lower CSF IP-10 were associated with better learning performance (all ps < .05).
Current daily cannabis use was associated with lower levels of pro-inflammatory chemokines implicated in HIV pathogenesis and these chemokines were linked to the cognitive domain of learning which is commonly impaired in PWH. Cannabinoid-related reductions of MCP-1 and IP-10, if confirmed, suggest a role for medicinal cannabis in the mitigation of persistent inflammation and cognitive impacts of HIV.
There is lack of Cameroonian adult neuropsychological (NP) norms, limited knowledge concerning HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa, and evidence of differential inflammation and disease progression based on viral subtypes. In this study, we developed demographically corrected norms and assessed HIV and viral genotypes effects on attention/working memory (WM), learning, and memory.
We administered two tests of attention/WM [Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT)-50, Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS)-III Spatial Span] and two tests of learning and memory [Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R), Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised (HVLT-R)] to 347 HIV+ and 395 seronegative adult Cameroonians. We assessed the effects of viral factors on neurocognitive performance.
Compared to controls, people living with HIV (PLWH) had significantly lower T-scores on PASAT-50 and attention/WM summary scores, on HVLT-R total learning and learning summary scores, on HVLT-R delayed recall, BVMT-R delayed recall and memory summary scores. More PLWH had impairment in attention/WM, learning, and memory. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) and current immune status had no effect on T-scores. Compared to untreated cases with detectable viremia, untreated cases with undetectable viremia had significantly lower (worse) T-scores on BVMT-R total learning, BVMT-R delayed recall, and memory composite scores. Compared to PLWH infected with other subtypes (41.83%), those infected with HIV-1 CRF02_AG (58.17%) had higher (better) attention/WM T-scores.
PLWH in Cameroon have impaired attention/WM, learning, and memory and those infected with CRF02_AG viruses showed reduced deficits in attention/WM. The first adult normative standards for assessing attention/WM, learning, and memory described, with equations for computing demographically adjusted T-scores, will facilitate future studies of diseases affecting cognitive function in Cameroonians.
Frascati international research criteria for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are controversial; some investigators have argued that Frascati criteria are too liberal, resulting in a high false positive rate. Meyer et al. recommended more conservative revisions to HAND criteria, including exploring other commonly used methodologies for neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in HIV including the global deficit score (GDS). This study compares NCI classifications by Frascati, Meyer, and GDS methods, in relation to neuroimaging markers of brain integrity in HIV.
Two hundred forty-one people living with HIV (PLWH) without current substance use disorder or severe (confounding) comorbid conditions underwent comprehensive neurocognitive testing and brain structural magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Participants were classified using Frascati criteria versus Meyer criteria: concordant unimpaired [Frascati(Un)/Meyer(Un)], concordant impaired [Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Imp)], or discordant [Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Un)] which were impaired via Frascati criteria but unimpaired via Meyer criteria. To investigate the GDS versus Meyer criteria, the same groupings were utilized using GDS criteria instead of Frascati criteria.
When examining Frascati versus Meyer criteria, discordant Frascati(Imp)/Meyer(Un) individuals had less cortical gray matter, greater sulcal cerebrospinal fluid volume, and greater evidence of neuroinflammation (i.e., choline) than concordant Frascati(Un)/Meyer(Un) individuals. GDS versus Meyer comparisons indicated that discordant GDS(Imp)/Meyer(Un) individuals had less cortical gray matter and lower levels of energy metabolism (i.e., creatine) than concordant GDS(Un)/Meyer(Un) individuals. In both sets of analyses, the discordant group did not differ from the concordant impaired group on any neuroimaging measure.
The Meyer criteria failed to capture a substantial portion of PLWH with brain abnormalities. These findings support continued use of Frascati or GDS criteria to detect HIV-associated CNS dysfunction.
To define optimal thromboprophylaxis strategy after stent implantation in superior or total cavopulmonary connections.
Stent thrombosis is a rare complication of intravascular stenting, with a perceived higher risk in single-ventricle patients.
All patients who underwent stent implantation within superior or total cavopulmonary connections (caval vein, innominate vein, Fontan, or branch pulmonary arteries) were included. Cohort was divided into aspirin therapy alone versus advanced anticoagulation, including warfarin, enoxaparin, heparin, or clopidogrel. Primary endpoint was in-stent or downstream thrombus, and secondary endpoints included bleeding complications.
A total of 58 patients with single-ventricle circulation underwent 72 stent implantations. Of them 14 stents (19%) were implanted post-superior cavopulmonary connection and 58 (81%) post-total cavopulmonary connection. Indications for stenting included vessel/conduit stenosis (67%), external compression (18%), and thrombotic occlusion (15%). Advanced anticoagulation was prescribed for 32 (44%) patients and aspirin for 40 (56%) patients. Median follow up was 1.1 (25th–75th percentile, 0.5–2.6) years. Echocardiograms were available in 71 patients (99%), and advanced imaging in 44 patients (61%). Thrombosis was present in two patients on advanced anticoagulation (6.3%) and none noted in patients on aspirin (p = 0.187). Both patients with in-stent thrombus underwent initial stenting due to occlusive left pulmonary artery thrombus acutely post-superior cavopulmonary connection. There were seven (22%) significant bleeding complications for advanced anticoagulation and none for aspirin (p < 0.001).
Antithrombotic strategy does not appear to affect rates of in-stent thrombus in single-ventricle circulations. Aspirin alone may be sufficient for most patients undergoing stent implantation, while pre-existing thrombus may warrant advanced anticoagulation.
Methamphetamine (MA) dependence contributes to neurotoxicity and neurocognitive deficits. Although combined alcohol and MA misuse is common, how alcohol consumption relates to neurocognitive performance among MA users remains unclear. We hypothesized that alcohol and MA use would synergistically diminish neurocognitive functioning, such that greater reported alcohol consumption would exert larger negative effects on neurocognition among MA-dependent individuals compared to MA-nonusing persons.
Eighty-seven MA-dependent (MA+) and 114 MA-nonusing (MA−) adults underwent neuropsychological and substance use assessments. Linear and logistic regressions examined the interaction between MA status and lifetime average drinks per drinking day on demographically corrected global neurocognitive T scores and impairment rates, controlling for recent alcohol use, lifetime cannabis use, WRAT reading performance, and lifetime depression.
MA+ displayed moderately higher rates of impairment and lower T scores compared to MA−. Lifetime alcohol use significantly interacted with MA status to predict global impairment (ORR = 0.70, p = .003) such that greater lifetime alcohol use increased likelihood of impairment in MA−, but decreased likelihood of impairment in MA+. Greater lifetime alcohol use predicted poorer global T scores among MA− (b = −0.44, p = .030) but not MA+ (b = 0.08, p = .586).
Contrary to expectations, greater lifetime alcohol use related to reduced risk of neurocognitive impairment among MA users. Findings are supported by prior research identifying neurobiological mechanisms by which alcohol may attenuate stimulant-driven vasoconstriction and brain thermotoxicity. Replication and examination of neurophysiologic mechanisms underlying alcohol use in the context of MA dependence are warranted to elucidate whether alcohol confers a degree of neuroprotection.
Objectives: Studies of neurocognitively elite older adults, termed SuperAgers, have identified clinical predictors and neurobiological indicators of resilience against age-related neurocognitive decline. Despite rising rates of older persons living with HIV (PLWH), SuperAging (SA) in PLWH remains undefined. We aimed to establish neuropsychological criteria for SA in PLWH and examined clinically relevant correlates of SA. Methods: 734 PLWH and 123 HIV-uninfected participants between 50 and 64 years of age underwent neuropsychological and neuromedical evaluations. SA was defined as demographically corrected (i.e., sex, race/ethnicity, education) global neurocognitive performance within normal range for 25-year-olds. Remaining participants were labeled cognitively normal (CN) or impaired (CI) based on actual age. Chi-square and analysis of variance tests examined HIV group differences on neurocognitive status and demographics. Within PLWH, neurocognitive status differences were tested on HIV disease characteristics, medical comorbidities, and everyday functioning. Multinomial logistic regression explored independent predictors of neurocognitive status. Results: Neurocognitive status rates and demographic characteristics differed between PLWH (SA=17%; CN=38%; CI=45%) and HIV-uninfected participants (SA=35%; CN=55%; CI=11%). In PLWH, neurocognitive groups were comparable on demographic and HIV disease characteristics. Younger age, higher verbal IQ, absence of diabetes, fewer depressive symptoms, and lifetime cannabis use disorder increased likelihood of SA. SA reported increased independence in everyday functioning, employment, and health-related quality of life than non-SA. Conclusions: Despite combined neurological risk of aging and HIV, youthful neurocognitive performance is possible for older PLWH. SA relates to improved real-world functioning and may be better explained by cognitive reserve and maintenance of cardiometabolic and mental health than HIV disease severity. Future research investigating biomarker and lifestyle (e.g., physical activity) correlates of SA may help identify modifiable neuroprotective factors against HIV-related neurobiological aging. (JINS, 2019, 25, 507–519)
Neuropsychological assessment tools are the staple of our field. The development of standardized metrics sensitive to brain-behavior relationships has shaped the neuropsychological questions we can ask, our understanding of discrete brain functions, and has informed the detection and treatment of neurological disorders. We identify key turning points and innovations in neuropsychological assessment over the past 40–50 years that highlight how the tools used in common practice today came to be. Also selected for emphasis are several exciting lines of research and novel approaches that are underway to further probe and characterize brain functions to enhance diagnostic and treatment outcomes. We provide a brief historical review of different clinical neuropsychological assessment approaches (Lurian, Flexible and Fixed Batteries, Boston Process Approach) and critical developments that have influenced their interpretation (normative standards, cultural considerations, longitudinal change, common metric batteries, and translational assessment constructs). Lastly, we discuss growing trends in assessment including technological advances, efforts to integrate neuropsychology across disciplines (e.g., primary care), and changes in neuropsychological assessment infrastructure. Neuropsychological assessment has undergone massive growth in the past several decades. Nonetheless, there remain many unanswered questions and future challenges to better support measurement tools and translate assessment findings into meaningful recommendations and treatments. As technology and our understanding of brain function advance, efforts to support infrastructure for both traditional and novel assessment approaches and integration of complementary brain assessment tools from other disciplines will be integral to inform brain health treatments and promote the growth of our field. (JINS, 2017, 23, 778–790)
Objectives: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disproportionately affects Hispanics/Latinos in the United States, yet little is known about neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in this group. We compared the rates of NCI in large well-characterized samples of HIV-infected (HIV+) Latinos and (non-Latino) Whites, and examined HIV-associated NCI among subgroups of Latinos. Methods: Participants included English-speaking HIV+ adults assessed at six U.S. medical centers (194 Latinos, 600 Whites). For overall group, age: M=42.65 years, SD=8.93; 86% male; education: M=13.17, SD=2.73; 54% had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. NCI was assessed with a comprehensive test battery with normative corrections for age, education and gender. Covariates examined included HIV-disease characteristics, comorbidities, and genetic ancestry. Results: Compared with Whites, Latinos had higher rates of global NCI (42% vs. 54%), and domain NCI in executive function, learning, recall, working memory, and processing speed. Latinos also fared worse than Whites on current and historical HIV-disease characteristics, and nadir CD4 partially mediated ethnic differences in NCI. Yet, Latinos continued to have more global NCI [odds ratio (OR)=1.59; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.13–2.23; p<.01] after adjusting for significant covariates. Higher rates of global NCI were observed with Puerto Rican (n=60; 71%) versus Mexican (n=79, 44%) origin/descent; this disparity persisted in models adjusting for significant covariates (OR=2.40; CI=1.11–5.29; p=.03). Conclusions: HIV+ Latinos, especially of Puerto Rican (vs. Mexican) origin/descent had increased rates of NCI compared with Whites. Differences in rates of NCI were not completely explained by worse HIV-disease characteristics, neurocognitive comorbidities, or genetic ancestry. Future studies should explore culturally relevant psychosocial, biomedical, and genetic factors that might explain these disparities and inform the development of targeted interventions. (JINS, 2018, 24, 163–175)
Objectives: The present study examined differences in neurocognitive outcomes among non-Hispanic Black and White stroke survivors using the NIH Toolbox-Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB), and investigated the roles of healthcare variables in explaining racial differences in neurocognitive outcomes post-stroke. Methods: One-hundred seventy adults (91 Black; 79 White), who participated in a multisite study were included (age: M=56.4; SD=12.6; education: M=13.7; SD=2.5; 50% male; years post-stroke: 1–18; stroke type: 72% ischemic, 28% hemorrhagic). Neurocognitive function was assessed with the NIHTB-CB, using demographically corrected norms. Participants completed measures of socio-demographic characteristics, health literacy, and healthcare use and access. Stroke severity was assessed with the Modified Rankin Scale. Results: An independent samples t test indicated Blacks showed more neurocognitive impairment (NIHTB-CB Fluid Composite T-score: M=37.63; SD=11.67) than Whites (Fluid T-score: M=42.59, SD=11.54; p=.006). This difference remained significant after adjusting for reading level (NIHTB-CB Oral Reading), and when stratified by stroke severity. Blacks also scored lower on health literacy, reported differences in insurance type, and reported decreased confidence in the doctors treating them. Multivariable models adjusting for reading level and injury severity showed that health literacy and insurance type were statistically significant predictors of the Fluid cognitive composite (p<.001 and p=.02, respectively) and significantly mediated racial differences on neurocognitive impairment. Conclusions: We replicated prior work showing that Blacks are at increased risk for poorer neurocognitive outcomes post-stroke than Whites. Health literacy and insurance type might be important modifiable factors influencing these differences. (JINS, 2017, 23, 640–652)
Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnicity in the United States, yet there are limited well-validated neuropsychological tools in Spanish, and an even greater paucity of normative standards representing this population. The Spanish NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) is a novel neurocognitive screener; however, the original norms were developed combining Spanish- and English-versions of the battery. We developed normative standards for the Spanish NIHTB-CB, fully adjusting for demographic variables and based entirely on a Spanish-speaking sample. A total of 408 Spanish-speaking neurologically healthy adults (ages 18–85 years) and 496 children (ages 3–7 years) completed the NIH Toolbox norming project. We developed three types of scores: uncorrected based on the entire Spanish-speaking cohort, age-corrected, and fully demographically corrected (age, education, sex) scores for each of the seven NIHTB-CB tests and three composites (Fluid, Crystallized, Total Composites). Corrected scores were developed using polynomial regression models. Demographic factors demonstrated medium-to-large effects on uncorrected NIHTB-CB scores in a pattern that differed from that observed on the English NIHTB-CB. For example, in Spanish-speaking adults, education was more strongly associated with Fluid scores, but showed the strongest association with Crystallized scores among English-speaking adults. Demographic factors were no longer associated with fully corrected scores. The original norms were not successful in eliminating demographic effects, overestimating children’s performances, and underestimating adults’ performances on the Spanish NIHTB-CB. The disparate pattern of demographic associations on the Spanish versus English NIHTB-CB supports the need for distinct normative standards developed separately for each population. Fully adjusted scores presented here will aid in more accurately characterizing acquired brain dysfunction among U.S. Spanish-speakers. (JINS, 2016, 21, 364–374)
Demographic factors impact neuropsychological test performances and accounting for them may help to better elucidate current brain functioning. The NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) is a novel neuropsychological tool, yet the original norms developed for the battery did not adequately account for important demographic/cultural factors known to impact test performances. We developed norms fully adjusting for all demographic variables within each language group (English and Spanish) separately. The current study describes the standards for individuals tested in English. Neurologically healthy adults (n=1038) and children (n=2917) who completed the NIH Toolbox norming project in English were included. We created uncorrected scores weighted to the 2010 Census demographics, and applied polynomial regression models to develop age-corrected and fully demographically adjusted (age, education, sex, race/ethnicity) scores for each NIHTB-CB test and composite (i.e., Fluid, Crystallized, and Total Composites). On uncorrected NIHTB-CB scores, age and education demonstrated significant, medium-to-large associations, while sex showed smaller, but statistically significant effects. In terms of race/ethnicity, a significant stair-step effect on uncorrected NIHTB-CB scores was observed (African American<Hispanic<White). After applying normative corrections, NIHTB-CB no longer demonstrated any significant associations with demographic factors. The previously developed norms still maintained significant associations with demographic factors, and demonstrated more variable impairment rates in segments of the healthy normative sample. Similar to other neuropsychological tests, demographic factors demonstrated significant associations with unadjusted NIHTB-CB scores. Application of fully corrected scores will help account for unwanted variance that is associated with non-clinical factors to more accurately reflect effects of disease-related changes in brain function. (JINS, 2015, 21, 378–391)
HIV-associated cognitive impairments are prevalent, and are consistent with injury to both frontal cortical and subcortical regions of the brain. The current study aimed to assess the association of HIV infection with functional connections within the frontostriatal network, circuitry hypothesized to be highly vulnerable to HIV infection. Fifteen HIV-positive and 15 demographically matched control participants underwent 6 min of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI). Multivariate group comparisons of age-adjusted estimates of connectivity within the frontostriatal network were derived from BOLD data for dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), dorsal caudate and mediodorsal thalamic regions of interest. Whole-brain comparisons of group differences in frontostriatal connectivity were conducted, as were pairwise tests of connectivity associations with measures of global cognitive functioning and clinical and immunological characteristics (nadir and current CD4 count, duration of HIV infection, plasma HIV RNA). HIV – associated reductions in connectivity were observed between the DLPFC and the dorsal caudate, particularly in younger participants (<50 years, N=9). Seropositive participants also demonstrated reductions in dorsal caudate connectivity to frontal and parietal brain regions previously demonstrated to be functionally connected to the DLPFC. Cognitive impairment, but none of the assessed clinical/immunological variables, was also associated with reduced frontostriatal connectivity. In conclusion, our data indicate that HIV is associated with attenuated intrinsic frontostriatal connectivity. Intrinsic connectivity of this network may therefore serve as a marker of the deleterious effects of HIV infection on the brain, possibly via HIV-associated dopaminergic abnormalities. These findings warrant independent replication in larger studies. (JINS, 2015, 21, 1–11)
This study describes psychometric properties of the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) Composite Scores in an adult sample. The NIHTB-CB was designed for use in epidemiologic studies and clinical trials for ages 3 to 85. A total of 268 self-described healthy adults were recruited at four university-based sites, using stratified sampling guidelines to target demographic variability for age (20–85 years), gender, education, and ethnicity. The NIHTB-CB contains seven computer-based instruments assessing five cognitive sub-domains: Language, Executive Function, Episodic Memory, Processing Speed, and Working Memory. Participants completed the NIHTB-CB, corresponding gold standard validation measures selected to tap the same cognitive abilities, and sociodemographic questionnaires. Three Composite Scores were derived for both the NIHTB-CB and gold standard batteries: “Crystallized Cognition Composite,” “Fluid Cognition Composite,” and “Total Cognition Composite” scores. NIHTB Composite Scores showed acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach’s alphas=0.84 Crystallized, 0.83 Fluid, 0.77 Total), excellent test–retest reliability (r: 0.86–0.92), strong convergent (r: 0.78–0.90) and discriminant (r: 0.19–0.39) validities versus gold standard composites, and expected age effects (r=0.18 crystallized, r=−0.68 fluid, r=−0.26 total). Significant relationships with self-reported prior school difficulties and current health status, employment, and presence of a disability provided evidence of external validity. The NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery Composite Scores have excellent reliability and validity, suggesting they can be used effectively in epidemiologic and clinical studies. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–11)
Episodic memory is one of the most important cognitive domains that involves acquiring, storing and recalling new information. In this article, we describe a new measure developed for the NIH Toolbox, called the Picture Sequence Memory Test (PSMT) that is the first to examine episodic memory across the age range from 3 to 85. We describe the development of the measure and present validation data for ages 20 to 85. The PSMT involves presentation of sequences of pictured objects and activities in a fixed order on a computer screen and simultaneously verbally described, that the participant must remember and then reproduce over three learning trials. The results indicate good test–retest reliability and construct validity. Performance is strongly related to well-established “gold standard” measures of episodic memory and, as expected, much less well correlated with those of a measure of vocabulary. It shows clear decline with aging in parallel with a gold standard summary measure and relates to several other demographic factors and to self-reported general health status. The PSMT appears to be a reliable and valid test of episodic memory for adults, a finding similar to those found for the same measure with children. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–9)
This study introduces a special series on validity studies of the Cognition Battery (CB) from the U.S. National Institutes of Health Toolbox for the Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function (NIHTB) (Gershon, Wagster et al., 2013) in an adult sample. This first study in the series describes the sample, each of the seven instruments in the NIHTB-CB briefly, and the general approach to data analysis. Data are provided on test–retest reliability and practice effects, and raw scores (mean, standard deviation, range) are presented for each instrument and the gold standard instruments used to measure construct validity. Accompanying papers provide details on each instrument, including information about instrument development, psychometric properties, age and education effects on performance, and convergent and discriminant construct validity. One study in the series is devoted to a factor analysis of the NIHTB-CB in adults and another describes the psychometric properties of three composite scores derived from the individual measures representing fluid and crystallized abilities and their combination. The NIHTB-CB is designed to provide a brief, comprehensive, common set of measures to allow comparisons among disparate studies and to improve scientific communication. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–12)