Mount Sinai Study Concludes Cognitive Testing of Elderly by Phone Is Effective Evaluation Method
Cognitive testing of the elderly by telephone is generally as effective as in-person testing, according to a study by Mount Sinai investigators.
Cognitive testing by telephone in elderly individuals is generally as effective as in-person testing, according to a new study by Effie M. Mitsis, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and part of Mount Sinai’s Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. The study will appear in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
The study is the first to evaluate the effectiveness of telephone assessment in an elderly cohort using well established neuropsychological tests. Fifty-four healthy women with an average age of 79 were divided into two groups and subjected to a series of standard neuropsychological tests, including mental status questions such as identifying the day and time, remembering a series of words or numbers and naming tasks. These tests are sensitive to cognitive decline and are typically used in clinical trials of Alzheimer’s Disease to monitor progression or stabilization of memory and thinking ability in elderly individuals. Both groups received in-person assessment of cognition as well as assessment by telephone.
The results indicated that the telephone and in-person assessment were comparable, suggesting that telephone assessment may be a useful, cost-effective and time efficient alternative to in-person assessment of cognition in the elderly.
Cognitive assessment is the most effective method for early detection of dementia but it is not available in all communities. Telephone assessment could provide the opportunity to offer an evaluation to a wider range of people, including those who live in rural areas or at great distances from medical centers.
Although telephone assessment is not a substitute for in-person assessment as conducted by neuropsychologists, many elderly patients don’t have the resources to access a neuropsychologist or ability to spend hours getting to the doctor’s office or clinic to receive an evaluation, especially one that would potentially be conducted every few months should that person decide to participate in a clinical trial, says Dr. Mitsis. "A clinical trial, as those run from our Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, requires people to return frequently for follow up. Using telephone assessments as an alternative, especially assessments that are considered sensitive to memory decline as those used in this study, means we can catch cognitive impairment early and monitor any changes that may occur, in a larger number of individuals. These individuals could be then referred for treatment sooner, prior to significant decline in memory and thinking, which will prolong positive outcomes in functioning."
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Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.
Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: It is consistently ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and top 20 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding and top 5 in the nation for numerous basic and clinical research areas. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.