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2016 Grants - Callahan
Cognition in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Adult Attention-Deficit Disorder
Brandy L. Callahan, Ph.D.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2016 Alzheimer’s Association Clinical Fellowship (AACF)
Can a new comprehensive set of tests distinguish cognitive changes associated with adult attention deficit disorder (ADD) from those associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)?
People with attention deficit disorder (ADD) typically have problems with executive functions — a group of mental processes that include controlling attention and regulating impulsive behavior. As they age, individuals with ADD may be diagnosed as having early dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that can precede Alzheimer’s disease. It is unclear if ADD is associated with increased risk for developing dementia, or whether it is being misdiagnosed as MCI due to the overlap in cognitive symptoms between both conditions.
Brandy L. Callahan, Ph.D., and colleagues will conduct a study to examine and clarify the distinctions between cognitive changes associated with ADD and MCI in older adults. The researchers will recruit three groups of participants aged 55-85 years old: 65 individuals with ADD, 65 people with MCI and 65 with normal cognition. They will then compare how each group performs on a comprehensive set of tests to measure executive function, memory and language skills. The researchers will track how these cognitive abilities may change over the course of three years to identify a “cluster” of brain function changes that defines adult ADD and another that defines MCI.
If successful, the results of this study could identify novel diagnostic tools that can more effectively distinguish ADD from MCI. These findings could also help clarify if ADD is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. A better understanding of the cognitive changes associated with ADD and MCI in older adults is critical to improving the accuracy of diagnoses and ensuring individuals are receiving proper clinical management and therapies.