Using the Cognitive Stress Test to Distinguish Pre-MCI and Amnestic MCI: Leeron Nahmias, BS


The medical student at Nova Southeastern University provided insight on a new innovative tool called the Cognitive Stress Test that can help distinguish different cognitive states for older adults. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

Previous research has identified difficulties with inhibitory processes, self-monitoring, and specifically, proactive semantic interference (PSI), as early features of incipient Alzheimer disease (AD). At the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), July 31 to August 4, in San Diego, California, investigators from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Nova Southeastern University, presented findings from a study using the Cognitive Stress Test (CST), an innovative tool that directly assesses an individual’s ability to recover from retroactive semantic interference (frPSI).

This computerized test paradigm requires the individual to learn a list of 18 semantically similar words, and then subsequently introduces a second list with 18 different targets in the same romantic categories. Investigators assessed the tool in a cohort of 150 patients who were either cognitively unimpaired (CU), or who had pre-mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or amnestic MCI. All told, the pre-MCI and amnestic MCI groups showed equivalent PSI, frPSI, and persistent frPSI effects adjusted for initial learning, and revealed a higher percentage of intrusion errors relative to CU participants.

In direct comparisons, those with amnestic MCI in general had a higher percentage of intrusion errors, thus confirming significant difficulties with inhibition, source memory, and monitoring, despite multiple learning trials. In an interview with NeurologyLive®, first author Leeron Nahmias, BS, a medical student at Nova Southeastern University, discussed the findings in detail, as well as the advantages the CST brings. She provided background on why the design of the study allowed for minimal discrepancy, and how the test paradigm could be used moving forward.

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1. Nahmias L, Beaulieu AN, Ortega A, et al. The Cognitive Stress Test (CST): an innovative tool to differentiate cognitively unimpaired (CU) older adults from those with pre-mild cognitive impairment and amnestic MCI. Presented at: Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC); July 31 to August 4; San, Diego, CA. 63696
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