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Normative neuropsychological data are essential for interpretation of test performance in the context of demographic factors. The Mayo Normative Studies (MNS) aim to provide updated normative data for neuropsychological measures administered in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (MCSA), a population-based study of aging that randomly samples residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, from age- and sex-stratified groups. We examined demographic effects on neuropsychological measures and validated the regression-based norms in comparison to existing normative data developed in a similar sample.
The MNS includes cognitively unimpaired adults ≥30 years of age (n = 4,428) participating in the MCSA. Multivariable linear regressions were used to determine demographic effects on test performance. Regression-based normative formulas were developed by first converting raw scores to normalized scaled scores and then regressing on age, age2, sex, and education. Total and sex-stratified base rates of low scores (T < 40) were examined in an older adult validation sample and compared with Mayo’s Older Americans Normative Studies (MOANS) norms.
Independent linear regressions revealed variable patterns of linear and/or quadratic effects of age (r2 = 6–27% variance explained), sex (0–13%), and education (2–10%) across measures. MNS norms improved base rates of low performance in the older adult validation sample overall and in sex-specific patterns relative to MOANS.
Our results demonstrate the need for updated norms that consider complex demographic associations on test performance and that specifically exclude participants with mild cognitive impairment from the normative sample.
The Stricker Learning Span (SLS) is a computer-adaptive digital word list memory test specifically designed for remote assessment and self-administration on a web-based multi-device platform (Mayo Test Drive). We aimed to establish criterion validity of the SLS by comparing its ability to differentiate biomarker-defined groups to the person-administered Rey’s Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT).
Participants (N = 353; mean age = 71, SD = 11; 93% cognitively unimpaired [CU]) completed the AVLT during an in-person visit, the SLS remotely (within 3 months) and had brain amyloid and tau PET scans available (within 3 years). Overlapping groups were formed for 1) those on the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) continuum (amyloid PET positive, A+, n = 125) or not (A-, n = 228), and those with biological AD (amyloid and tau PET positive, A+T+, n = 55) vs no evidence of AD pathology (A−T−, n = 195). Analyses were repeated among CU participants only.
The SLS and AVLT showed similar ability to differentiate biomarker-defined groups when comparing AUROCs (p’s > .05). In logistic regression models, SLS contributed significantly to predicting biomarker group beyond age, education, and sex, including when limited to CU participants. Medium (A− vs A+) to large (A−T− vs A+T+) unadjusted effect sizes were observed for both SLS and AVLT. Learning and delay variables were similar in terms of ability to separate biomarker groups.
Remotely administered SLS performed similarly to in-person-administered AVLT in its ability to separate biomarker-defined groups, providing evidence of criterion validity. Results suggest the SLS may be sensitive to detecting subtle objective cognitive decline in preclinical AD.
Rey’s Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT) is a widely used word list memory test. We update normative data to include adjustment for verbal memory performance differences between men and women and illustrate the effect of this sex adjustment and the importance of excluding participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from normative samples.
This study advances the Mayo’s Older Americans Normative Studies (MOANS) by using a new population-based sample through the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, which randomly samples residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, from age- and sex-stratified groups. Regression-based normative T-score formulas were derived from 4428 cognitively unimpaired adults aged 30–91 years. Fully adjusted T-scores correct for age, sex, and education. We also derived T-scores that correct for (1) age or (2) age and sex. Test-retest reliability data are provided.
From raw score analyses, sex explained a significant amount of variance in performance above and beyond age (8–10%). Applying original age-adjusted MOANS norms to the current sample resulted in significantly fewer-than-expected participants with low delayed recall performance, particularly in women. After application of new T-scores adjusted only for age, even in normative data derived from this sample, these age-adjusted T-scores showed scores <40 T occurred more frequently among men and less frequently among women relative to T-scores that also adjusted for sex.
Our findings highlight the importance of using normative data that adjust for sex with measures of verbal memory and provide new normative data that allow for this adjustment for the AVLT.
Little is known about the association of cortical Aβ with depression and anxiety among cognitively normal (CN) elderly persons.
We conducted a cross-sectional study derived from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Olmsted County, Minnesota; involving CN persons aged ≥ 60 years that underwent PiB-PET scans and completed Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Cognitive diagnosis was made by an expert consensus panel. Participants were classified as having abnormal (≥1.4; PiB+) or normal PiB-PET (<1.4; PiB−) using a global cortical to cerebellar ratio. Multi-variable logistic regression analyses were performed to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) after adjusting for age and sex.
Of 1,038 CN participants (53.1% males), 379 were PiB+. Each one point symptom increase in the BDI (OR = 1.03; 1.00–1.06) and BAI (OR = 1.04; 1.01–1.08) was associated with increased odds of PiB-PET+. The number of participants with BDI > 13 (clinical depression) was greater in the PiB-PET+ than PiB-PET- group but the difference was not significant (OR = 1.42; 0.83–2.43). Similarly, the number of participants with BAI > 10 (clinical anxiety) was greater in the PiB-PET+ than PiB-PET− group but the difference was not significant (OR = 1.77; 0.97–3.22).
As expected, depression and anxiety levels were low in this community-dwelling sample, which likely reduced our statistical power. However, we observed an informative albeit weak association between increased BDI and BAI scores and elevated cortical amyloid deposition. This observation needs to be tested in a longitudinal cohort study.
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