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Remote versus face-to-face neuropsychological testing for dementia research: a comparative study in people with Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia and healthy older individuals.

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Requena-Komuro, Maï-Carmen  ORCID logo
Jiang, Jessica 
Dobson, Lucianne 
Benhamou, Elia 
Russell, Lucy 


OBJECTIVES: We explored whether adapting neuropsychological tests for online administration during the COVID-19 pandemic was feasible for dementia research. DESIGN: We used a longitudinal design for healthy controls, who completed face-to-face assessments 3-4 years before remote assessments. For patients, we used a cross-sectional design, contrasting a prospective remote cohort with a retrospective face-to-face cohort matched for age/education/severity. SETTING: Remote assessments were conducted using video-conferencing/online testing platforms, with participants using a personal computer/tablet at home. Face-to-face assessments were conducted in testing rooms at our research centre. PARTICIPANTS: The remote cohort comprised 25 patients (n=8 Alzheimer's disease (AD); n=3 behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD); n=4 semantic dementia (SD); n=5 progressive non-fluent aphasia (PNFA); n=5 logopenic aphasia (LPA)). The face-to-face patient cohort comprised 64 patients (n=25 AD; n=12 bvFTD; n=9 SD; n=12 PNFA; n=6 LPA). Ten controls who previously participated in face-to-face research also took part remotely. OUTCOME MEASURES: The outcome measures comprised the strength of evidence under a Bayesian framework for differences in performances between testing environments on general neuropsychological and neurolinguistic measures. RESULTS: There was substantial evidence suggesting no difference across environments in both the healthy control and combined patient cohorts (including measures of working memory, single-word comprehension, arithmetic and naming; Bayes Factors (BF)01 >3), in the healthy control group alone (including measures of letter/category fluency, semantic knowledge and bisyllabic word repetition; all BF01 >3), and in the combined patient cohort alone (including measures of working memory, episodic memory, short-term verbal memory, visual perception, non-word reading, sentence comprehension and bisyllabic/trisyllabic word repetition; all BF01 >3). In the control cohort alone, there was substantial evidence in support of a difference across environments for tests of visual perception (BF01=0.0404) and monosyllabic word repetition (BF01=0.0487). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that remote delivery of neuropsychological tests for dementia research is feasible.


Peer reviewed: True

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to all participants for their involvement.


Neurology, 1506, 2474, 1713, Dementia, Telemedicine, Adult neurology

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BMJ Open

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ESRC-NIHR (ES/L001810/1)
Alzheimer's Society (N/A)
Medical Research Council (N/A)
Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (204841/Z/16/Z)
Alzheimer's Research UK (N/A)
National Institute for Health Research University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre (N/A)
Brain Research UK (N/A)
University College London Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (N/A)
Wolfson Foundation (N/A)
Wellcome Trust (102129/B/13/Z, 200783)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M006093/1)
Dunhill Medical Trust (PA23_Hardy)
Royal National Institute for Deaf People (PA23_Hardy)
Frontotemporal Dementia Research Studentship in Memory of David Blechner (N/A)