New Data Demonstrated Cognigram™ as a Useful Tool in Assessing Cognitive Function

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. 
About Merck 
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 
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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: 
(3) Ibid. 
(4) Ibid. 
(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: 
(9) Ibid. 
(10) Maruff, Paul et al. Clinical utility of the Cogstate brief battery in 
Alzheimer's disease related memory impairment. Abstract. 2013.   
Media Contacts: 
Sylvie Tessier Merck 514-428-3142 
Alexandra Fahmey Edelman 416-849-2996   
SOURCE: Merck 
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