Cognitive Testing in Clinical Drug Trials

Formal cognitive testing in pharmaceutical trials is relatively new.  Up until 2000, most drug trial designs did not include any form of baseline and end point cognitive testing, even for drugs that act directly on the central nervous system (CNS). A significant push towards standardized cognitive assessments in clinical drug trials occurred in 2005 when… Read More »

Defining Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

The current issue of the European Journal of Neurology has an article on how to classify mild cases of Traumatic Brain Injury, or mTBI. Using the words mild and traumatic in the same definition seems a bit of an oxymoron, but the author reasonably uses the European Federation of Neurological Societies’ definition, which sets the… Read More »

ER Visits for Concussions in School Age Children

Interesting research study that looked at Emergency Room visits over a five year period for concussions in children ages 8-19.  About half of the 500,000 visits were for sports related brain injuries, including organized team sports and individual activities like snowboarding and cycling. Since a person’s brain is still developing well in the late 20s,… Read More »

Computerized Cognitive Testing in Research Labs

Most of the current paper-based cognitive assessment tests were developed and validated in psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science lab settings over several decades.  Long term funding and some creative freedom in basic research provide an environment to prototype experiments and tests that can take many years to show results and validate outcomes. Basic research labs… Read More »

Future Diagnostic Options for Alzheimer’s, MCI, and Brain Injuries

With the increasing waves of people at risk for Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), the health care industry is grappling with how to provide cognitive diagnostic tools that are easy to administer in a doctor’s office or health clinic, and do not require invasive procedures. Baseline cognitive assessments for memory are an obvious first… Read More »

Baseline Cognitive Testing in Sports Teams

This recent announcement from Axon Sports, a joint venture from CogState and Quixote Investment, points to the growing awareness that cognitive testing is an essential step in managing and treating sports related concussions. The joint venture also highlights an interesting business driver — managing risk and health care expenses associated with concussions on the playing… Read More »

New Diagnostic Guidelines for Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment

The National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer’s Association in July released proposed guidelines on how to diagnose Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s Disease.  The diagnostic guidance describes both non-invasive and invasive testing options. Central to the non-invasive diagnostic guidance is cognitive assessment.  For example, the MCI guidelines propose cognitive tests for episodic memory, which… Read More »

Repetitive Brain Trauma has Long Term Implications

A recent research article examined the links between professional sports athletes who received multiple concussions in their careers, and the probability of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition that results in muscle weakness, depression, memory loss, and progressive dementia. As with most research journal articles, it is wordy and couched with lots… Read More »