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2014 Grants - Rossetti
Montreal Cognitive Assessment for Detection of MCI in African-Americans
Heidi Rossetti, Ph.D.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
2014 New Investigator Research Grant
Early detection of decline in cognitive function is very important in identifying individuals who may be at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a cognitive screening test that physicians and other health care providers can use to obtain an initial measurement of a person’s memory and thinking abilities. It contains a set of 30 questions or tasks and can be completed in about 10 minutes. Although other similar tests are available, the MoCA is quickly becoming the gold standard to aid in the early detection of cognitive impairment.
In order to understand the results of the MoCA, health care providers must compare an individual’s score to a set of data on established score ranges. However, for the MoCA and most other cognitive assessments, the established score ranges were obtained from tests of people of certain racial and ethnic backgrounds, most often small groups of elderly Caucasian people. Because of the nature of the MoCA test, the established score ranges may not be accurate or reliable in people of other racial or ethnic backgrounds.
Heidi Rossetti, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed developing the appropriateness and score ranges for the MoCA in African-Americans. The researchers will obtain MoCA scores in 80 African-Americans of different ages and education levels, then use those scores to define ranges of normal and impaired cognitive function. This work will broaden the usability of the MoCA and make its use more reliable and accurate in African-American individuals, allowing for improved detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in their earliest stages.