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Cognitive Assessment of Patients With Alzheimer's Disease by Telemedicine: Pilot Study.

Cognitive Assessment of Patients With Alzheimer's Disease by Telemedicine: Pilot Study.
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Cognitive Assessment of Patients With Alzheimer's Disease by Telemedicine: Pilot Study.

JMIR Ment Health. 2018 May 11;5(2):e31

Authors: Carotenuto A, Rea R, Traini E, Ricci G, Fasanaro AM, Amenta F

BACKGROUND: Approximately 46.8 million people are living with dementia worldwide and their number will grow in the next years. Any potential treatment should be administered as early as possible because it is important to provide an early cognitive assessment and to regularly monitor the mental function of patients. Information and communication technologies can be helpful to reach and follow patients without displacing them, but there may be doubts about the reliability of cognitive tests performed by telemedicine.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) tests administered in hospital by videoconference to patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
METHODS: The tests were administered to 28 Alzheimer's disease outpatients (8 male, mean age 73.88, SD 7.45 years; 20 female mean age 76.00, SD 5.40 years) recruited and followed in the Alzheimer's Unit of the A Cardarelli National Hospital (Naples, Italy) at baseline and after 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of observation. Patients were evaluated first face-to-face by a psychologist and then, after 2 weeks, by another psychologist via videoconference in hospital.
RESULTS: This study showed no differences in the MMSE and ADAS-cog scores when the tests were administered face-to-face or by videoconference, except in patients with more pronounced cognitive deficits (MMSE<17), in which the assessment via videoconference overestimated the cognitive impairment (face to face, MMSE mean 13.9, SD 4.9 and ADAS-cog mean 9.0, SD 3.8; videoconference, MMSE mean 42.8, SD 12.5 and ADAS-cog mean 56.9, SD 5.5).
CONCLUSIONS: We found that videoconferencing is a reliable approach to document cognitive stability or decline, and to measure treatment effects in patients with mild to moderate dementia. A more extended study is needed to confirm these results.

PMID: 29752254 [PubMed]

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