Factors That Influence Practice Effects: Stephen Rao, PhD, ABPP-Cn


The Ralph and Luci Schey Chair and Director of the Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging at Cleveland Clinic discussed populations that exhibit greater practice effects than others.

"What are the factors that underly the practice effects? It turns out that the healthier you are, the more the practice effects are seen. So, the younger you are, the less disabled you are, the greater the practice effect. People who have fewer brain lesions and less atrophy show more practice effects than those people that are older, more disabled, and with more brain lesions.”

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, including senior author Stephen Rao, PhD, ABPP-Cn, Ralph and Luci Schey Chair, and director, Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Cleveland Clinic, found that scores on the Processing Speed Test (PST; average increase, 3 points; P <.001) and Manual Dexterity Test (MDT; average decrease, 1 second; P = .005) showed significant PE. Walking speed test (WST) 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 Rao to learn more about the factors that influence PE on the MSPT. He also discussed the surprising role that depression plays in influencing PE among the MS patient population.

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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