Correcting Practice Effects on the MSPT: Stephen Rao, PhD, ABPP-Cn


The Ralph and Luci Schey Chair and Director of the Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging at Cleveland Clinic discussed the importance of correcting practice effects to determine performance.

“If we can model it, and we understand these factors, like age, disability, MRI factors, [and] depression, we can adjust the scores that we get so that we flatten out the curves. In other words, we remove the practice effects and we can get a more accurate determination of people's performance.”

Practice effects have been observed on several facets of the multiple sclerosis performance test (MSPT) battery are susceptible to significant practice effects (PE), according to data from a recent study presented at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 17-22, by Shirley Liao, PhD, MS, biostatistician, Biogen.

Liao and colleagues found that scores on the Processing Speed Test (average increase, 3 points; P <.001) and Manual Dexterity Test (average decrease, 1 second; P = .005) showed significant PE. Walking speed test scores did not show significant PE (P = .07). Larger PE was seen with younger patients (P <.001), patients with fewer self-reported depression symptoms (P <.001), and patients with lower baseline Patient Determined Disease Steps (P <.001) after Bonferroni correction.

NeurologyLive spoke with senior author Stephen Rao, PhD, ABPP-Cn, Ralph and Luci Schey Chair, and director, Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Cleveland Clinic, to learn more about the steps his team is taking to correct for these practice effects. He stressed that correcting these effects is crucial to being able to accurately determine a person’s deterioration in their disease course.

For more coverage of AAN 2021, click here.

Liao S, de Moor C, Williams JR, Fisher E, Rao S. Real-world practice effects and effect modifiers of neuroperformance tests in Multiple Sclerosis Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions (MS PATHS). Presented at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 17-22 Abstract P15 037.
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