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Previous findings suggest that time setting errors (TSEs) in the Clock Drawing Test (CDT) may be related mainly to impairments in semantic and executive function. Recent attempts to dissociate the classic stimulus-bound error (setting the time to “10 to 11” instead of “10 past 11”) from other TSEs, did not support hypotheses regarding this error being primarily executive in nature or different from other time setting errors in terms of neurocognitive correlates. This study aimed to further investigate the cognitive correlates of stimulus-bound errors and other TSEs, in order to trace possible underlying cognitive deficits.
We examined cognitive test performance of participants with preliminary diagnoses associated with mild cognitive impairment. Among 490 participants, we identified clocks with stimulus-bound errors (n = 78), other TSEs (n = 41), other errors not related to time settings (n = 176), or errorless clocks (n = 195).
No differences were found on any dependent measure between the stimulus-bound and the other TSErs groups. Group comparisons suggested TSEs in general, to be associated with lower performance on various cognitive measures, especially on semantic and working memory measures. Regression analysis further highlighted semantic and verbal working memory difficulties as being the most prominent deficits associated with these errors.
TSEs in the CDT may indicate underlying deficits in semantic function and working memory. In addition, results support previous findings related to the diagnostic value of TSEs in detecting cognitive impairment.
Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) post-stroke is frequent but may go undetected, which highlights the need to better screen cognitive functioning following a stroke.
We examined the clinical utility of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in detecting cognitive impairment against a gold-standard neuropsychological battery.
We assessed cognitive status with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests in 161 individuals who were at least 3-months post-stroke. We used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to identify two cut points for the MoCA to maximize sensitivity and specificity at a minimum 90% threshold. We examined the utility of the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, a processing speed measure, to determine whether this additional metric would improve classification relative to the MoCA total score alone.
Using two cut points, 27% of participants scored ≤ 23 and were classified as high probability of cognitive impairment (sensitivity 92%), and 24% of participants scored ≥ 28 and were classified as low probability of cognitive impairment (specificity 91%). The remaining 48% of participants scored from 24 to 27 and were classified as indeterminate probability of cognitive impairment. The addition of a processing speed measure improved classification for the indeterminate group by correctly identifying 65% of these individuals, for an overall classification accuracy of 79%.
The utility of the MoCA in detecting cognitive impairment post-stroke is improved when using a three-category approach. The addition of a processing speed measure provides a practical and efficient method to increase confidence in the determined outcome while minimally extending the screening routine for VCI.
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