Variability of trail making test, symbol digit test and line trait test in normal people. A normative study taking into account age-dependent decline and sociobiological variables.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Padova, Italy.
Aging clinical and experimental research (Impact Factor: 1.01). 04/2002; 14(2):117-31. DOI: 10.1007/BF03324425
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The influence of sociobiological variables and aging on the variability of the Trail Making Tests (TMT), the Symbol Digit Substituting Test (SDT), and the Line Trait Test (LTT) in the general healthy populations are not well known. Even less is known about the reliability at re-testing. This study aimed at determining the reference range of these tests, taking into account sociobiological variables and age, and the re-testing effect.
We studied 300 healthy subjects from 20 to 80 years of age. The sample was derived by the pooling of two samples stratified by age and sex: a randomized sample of 161 subjects collected from the city registers of Padova, and a convenience sample of 139 subjects collected in 20 towns (mainly rural) of Northern Italy. After normalization, data were assayed for the influence of age, education, job, and gender.
Age was found to be a significant independent predictor for all the tests, education for all but the LTT, job only for the TMT-B and a geometrical version of the same test (TMT-G) which was proved to be highly correlated with the TMT-B (r=0.80, p<0.01). Job and the interaction age x education level influenced the difference TMT-B minus TMT-A. From the predicting equations, the normative data and the formulas to obtain Z scores for each test were derived. Reliability was lowest for LTT errors (CV=67%), highest for the SDT (13%), whereas the TMT obtained intermediate values (22-33%, depending on the test).
This study provides the most reliable normative data range for the TMT, SDT and LTT to date because it considers important demographic variables such as age, education and job.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Background: Clinical studies have shown that hippocampal atrophy is present before dementia in people with memory deficits and can predict dementia development. The question remains whether this association holds in the general population. This is of interest for the possible use of hippocampal atrophy to screen population for preventive interventions. The aim of this study was to assess hippocampal volume and shape abnormalities in elderly adults with memory deficits in a cross-sectional population-based study. Methods: We included individuals participating in the Italian Project on the Epidemiology of Alzheimer Disease (IPREA) study: 75 cognitively normal individuals (HC), 31 individuals with memory deficits (MEM), and 31 individuals with memory deficits not otherwise specified (MEMnos). Hippocampal volumes and shape were extracted through manual tracing and the growing and adaptive meshes (GAMEs) shape-modeling algorithm. We investigated between-group differences in hippocampal volume and shape, and correlations with memory deficits. Results: In MEM participants, hippocampal volumes were significantly smaller than in HC and were mildly associated with worse memory scores. Memory-associated shape changes mapped to the anterior hippocampus. Shape-based analysis detected no significant difference between MEM and HC, while MEMnos showed shape changes in the posterior hippocampus compared with HC and MEM groups. Conclusions: These findings support the discriminant validity of hippocampal volumetry as a biomarker of memory impairment in the general population. The detection of shape changes in MEMnos but not in MEM participants suggests that shape-based biomarkers might lack sensitivity to detect Alzheimer's-like pathology in the general population.
    International Psychogeriatrics 02/2014; · 2.19 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Human cognitive functioning can be assessed using different methods of testing. Age, level of education, and gender may influence the results of cognitive tests. Material and Methods The well-known Trail Making Test (TMT), which is often used to measure the frontal lobe function, and the experimental test of Interval Timing (IT) were compared. The methods used in IT included reproduction of auditory and visual stimuli, with the subsequent production of the time intervals of 1-, 2-, 5-, and 7-seconds durations with no pattern. Subjects included 64 healthy adult volunteers aged 18-63 (33 women, 31 men). Comparisons were made based on age, education, and gender. Results TMT was performed quickly and was influenced by age, education, and gender. All reproduced visual and produced intervals were shortened and the reproduction of auditory stimuli was more complex. Age, education, and gender have more pronounced impact on the cognitive test than on the interval timing test. The reproduction of the short auditory stimuli was more accurate in comparison to other modalities used in the IT test. Conclusions The interval timing, when compared to the TMT, offers an interesting possibility of testing. Further studies are necessary to confirm the initial observation.
    Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research 01/2014; 20:173-81. · 1.22 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Late-onset and early-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD, EOAD) affect different neural systems and may be separate nosographic entities. The most striking differences are in the medial temporal lobe, severely affected in LOAD and relatively spared in EOAD. We assessed amygdalar morphology and volume in 18 LOAD and 18 EOAD patients and 36 aged-matched controls and explored their relationship with the hippocampal volume. Three-dimensional amygdalar shape was reconstructed with the radial atrophy mapping technique, hippocampal volume was measured using a manual method. Atrophy was greater in LOAD than EOAD: 25% versus 17% in the amygdala and 20% versus 13% in the hippocampus. In the amygdala, LOAD showed significantly greater tissue loss than EOAD in the right dorsal central, lateral, and basolateral nuclei (20%-30% loss, p < 0.03), all known to be connected to limbic regions. In LOAD but not EOAD, greater hippocampal atrophy was associated with amygdalar atrophy in the left dorsal central and medial nuclei (r = 0.6, p < 0.05) also part of the limbic system. These findings support the notion that limbic involvement is a prominent feature of LOAD but not EOAD.
    Neurobiology of aging 03/2014; · 5.94 Impact Factor


Available from
May 16, 2014