Validation of a self-administered computerized system to detect cognitive impairment in older adults

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There is increasing interest in the development of economical and accurate approaches to identifying persons in the community who have mild, undetected cognitive impairments. Computerized assessment systems have been suggested as a viable approach to identifying these persons. The validity of a computerized assessment system for identification of memory and executive deficits in older individuals was evaluated in the current study. Volunteers (N = 235) completed a 3-hr battery of neuropsychological tests and a computerized cognitive assessment system. Participants were classified as impaired (n = 78) or unimpaired (n = 157) on the basis of the Mini Mental State Exam, Wechsler Memory Scale-III and the Trail Making Test (TMT), Part B. All six variables (three memory variables and three executive variables) derived from the computerized assessment differed significantly between groups in the expected direction. There was also evidence of temporal stability and concurrent validity. Application of computerized assessment systems for clinical practice and for identification of research participants is discussed in this article.