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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Oct;55(10):1630-5. Epub 2007 Aug 14.

A comparison of computerized and pencil-and-paper tasks in assessing cognitive function in community-dwelling older people in the Newcastle 85+ Pilot Study.

Author information

  • 1Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. daniel.collerton@ncl.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To compare the acceptability and feasibility of computerized and pencil-and-paper tests of cognitive function in 85-year-old people.

DESIGN:

Group comparison of participants randomly allocated to pencil-and-paper (Wechsler Adult Intelligence and Memory Scales) or computerized (Cognitive Drug Research) tests of verbal memory and attention.

SETTING:

The Newcastle 85+ Pilot Study was the precursor to the Newcastle 85+ Study a United Kingdom Medical Research Council/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council cohort study of health and aging in the oldest-old age group.

PARTICIPANTS:

Eighty-one community-dwelling individuals aged 85.

MEASUREMENTS:

Participant and researcher acceptability, completion rates, time taken, validity as cognitive measures, and psychometric utility.

RESULTS:

Participants randomized to computerized tests were less likely to rate the cognitive function tests as difficult (odds ratio (OR)=0.16, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.07-0.39), stressful (OR=0.18, 95% CI=0.07-0.45), or unacceptable (OR=0.18, 95% CI=0.08-0.48) than those randomized to pencil-and-paper tests. Researchers were also less likely to rate participants as being distressed in the computer test group (OR=0.19, 95% CI=0.07-0.46). Pencil-and-paper tasks took participants less time to complete (mean+/-standard deviation 18+/-4 minutes vs 26+/-4 minutes) but had fewer participants who could complete all tasks (91% vs 100%). Both types of task were equally good measures of cognitive function.

CONCLUSION:

Computerized and pencil-and-paper tests are both feasible and useful means of assessing cognitive function in the oldest-old age group. Computerized tests are more acceptable to participants and administrators.

PMID:
17697099
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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