New Data Demonstrated Cognigram™ as a Useful Tool in Assessing Cognitive
MONTREAL, July 17, 2013 /CNW/ - New data provided evidence of a useful new
tool in the detection and monitoring of cognitive impairment in aging and
dementia. The data showed the clinical utility of Cognigram™ to identify
cognitive impairment in people with and at risk of Alzheimer's disease
(AD).(1) The data was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International
Conference (AAIC), currently taking place in Boston, Massachusetts between
July 13 and 18.
"As an innovative cognitive online evaluation tool, Cognigram™ was developed
to broadly assess four critical cognitive domains ̶ psychomotor function,
attention, learning and working memory through card playing tasks," said Dr.
Paul Maruff, Chief Science Officer at Cogstate. "These study results are
important as they demonstrate the sensitivity and specificity of
Cognigram™. This means that Cognigram™ can be used in clinical practice
settings to identify even subtle impairments that can signify the earliest
stage of dementia."
Cognitive Function in Aging
Cognition is the mental process of knowing, including aspects such as
awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.(2) Some decrease in cognition
is expected at older ages, but the decline is not uniform across all cognitive
tasks or for all individuals.( )Impaired cognition can have health
consequences, such as first stroke, falls, and institutionalization.(3) It may
reduce an individual's ability to communicate pain to health care providers,(
)carry out instrumental activities of daily living,( )cope with chronic
disease symptoms, perform self-care and adhere to medication instructions.(4)
The number of Canadians living with cognitive impairment, including dementia,
was 747,000 in 2012 and will double to 1.4 million by 2031.(5) The annual
economic burden is expected to increase substantially from approximately $15
billion in 2008 to $153 billion by the year 2038.(6)
"The burden of dementia is growing rapidly. As a physician, I witness
first-hand the profound impact of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias on
the everyday lives of patients and their families. The hardship is greater
when cognitive changes are not identified early," says Dr. Sharon Cohen,
Neurologist and Medical Director of Toronto Memory Program. "New computerized
assessment tools are valuable in the accurate detection of early cognitive
impairment and in monitoring cognitive change over time."
About the Study(7)
The study included 653 healthy older adults, 68 adults with mild cognitive
impairment (MCI), and 44 adults with AD who completed the Cognigram™
system. Participants were recruited from the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers,
and Lifestyle (AIBL) Study of Ageing, and the AIBL-Rate of Change sub-study
(AIBL-ROCS). The four performance measures of Cognigram™ were reduced to two
composites - psychomotor/attention and learning/working memory. Sensitivity
and specificity analyses were conducted on the two composites to determine
their clinical utility. The AIBL study in which participants were recruited
from, aimed to discover which biomarkers, cognitive characteristics, and
health and lifestyle factors determine subsequent development of symptomatic
Alzheimer's disease.(8) The AIBL study is supported by the Science and
Industry Endowment Fund in Australia.(9)
About the Results(10)
Large impairments in MCI (d = 1.20) and AD (d = 2.20) were identified for the
learning/working memory composite but not the psychomotor/attention composite
(MCI d = 0.40; AD d = 0.50). Using a cutscore of -1.96, the learning/working
memory composite showed 85.71 per cent sensitivity and 96.81 per cent
specificity to a clinical classification of Alzheimer's disease. Both
composite scores showed high test-retest reliability (0.95) over four months.
Performance on the memory composite was also related to performance on the
MMSE, with worse scores on the MMSE associated with worse performance on the
Cognigram™ memory composite.
About Cognigram™( )
Cognigram™ is a computer-based system designed to measure and monitor
cognitive function for neuro-degenerative diseases such as mild cognitive
impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Merck Canada Inc. promotes Cognigram™
in Canada. Cognigram™ was created and is supplied by Cogstate Ltd. The
partnership is part of the ongoing commitment from Merck to improve disease
management involving the central nervous system.
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be
well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through
our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products,
we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver
innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing
access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.
For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.
This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of
the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and
expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and
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that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they
will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove
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Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking
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Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those
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(1) Maruff, Paul et al. Clinical utility of the Cogstate brief battery in
Alzheimer's disease related memory impairment. Poster presented at the
Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Sunday, July 14, 2013.
(2) Gilmour, Heather. Cognitive performance of Canadian seniors. Statistics
Canada. June 2011. Available at:
(5) Alzheimer Society of Canada. A new way of looking at the impact of
dementia in Canada. Available at:
(6) The Alzheimer Society. Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian
Society. Executive Summary. 2010. Available at:
(7) Maruff, Paul et al. Clinical utility of the Cogstate brief battery in
Alzheimer's disease related memory impairment. Abstract. 2013.
(8) Introducing the AIBL. The Australian Imaging, Biomarker & Lifestyle
Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL). May 14, 2013. Available at:
(10) Maruff, Paul et al. Clinical utility of the Cogstate brief battery in
Alzheimer's disease related memory impairment. Abstract. 2013.
Sylvie Tessier Merck 514-428-3142 email@example.com
Alexandra Fahmey Edelman 416-849-2996 firstname.lastname@example.org
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