Studying the Trajectory of Cognitive Decline: Richard Gershon, PhD


The vice chair for research at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine discussed how the cognitive mobile toolbox can be used to assess cognition in all populations.

“We want to find out the predecessors of dementia going back to age 20. So, the advantage of this project was could we have a very inexpensive way to test hundreds of thousands, or millions of people starting in their 20s and see what the trajectory of cognitive decline is, or any incidents or markers of decline we can detect early on that we might actually be able to do something about.”

A mobile application, dubbed the Mobile Toolbox Battery (MTB), may allow for early detection of cognitive impairment due to neurodegenerative disease, according to a study presented at the 2021 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 17-22, by Sarah Pila, PhD, research assistant professor, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Pila and colleagues, including senior author Richard Gershon, PhD, vice chair, research, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, developed the MTB to safely, remotely, and effectively collect data from assessments that measure executive function, language, memory, and processing speed in adults. Assessments included in the battery are the Flanker, Face-Name (FNAME); Memory for Sequence (MFS); Picture Sequence Memory (PSM); and Vocabulary, Number Match, Spelling, and Dimensional Charge Card Sort (DCCS) tests.

NeurologyLive spoke to Gershon to learn more about the MTB and its applicability during the COVID-19 pandemic. He discussed how future research could compare assessment scores of all age groups to study the trajectory of cognitive decline.

For more coverage of AAN 2021, click here.

Pila S, Novak M, Weintraub S, et al. The Mobile Toolbox (MBT): A Completely Remote Platform for Cognitive Research. Presented at 2021 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 17-22. Abstract P7.086
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