MONTREAL, July 17, 2013 /CNW/ - New data provided evidence of a useful
new tool in the detection and monitoring of cognitive impairment in
aging and dementia. The data showed the clinical utility of Cognigram™
to identify cognitive impairment in people with and at risk of
Alzheimer's disease (AD).1 The data was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International
Conference (AAIC), currently taking place in Boston, Massachusetts
between July 13 and 18.
"As an innovative cognitive online evaluation tool, Cognigram™ was
developed to broadly assess four critical cognitive domains ̶
psychomotor function, attention, learning and working memory through
card playing tasks," said Dr. Paul Maruff, Chief Science Officer at
Cogstate. "These study results are important as they demonstrate the
sensitivity and specificity of Cognigram™. This means that Cognigram™
can be used in clinical practice settings to identify even subtle
impairments that can signify the earliest stage of dementia."
Cognitive Function in Aging
Cognition is the mental process of knowing, including aspects such as
awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.2 Some decrease in cognition is expected at older ages, but the decline
is not uniform across all cognitive tasks or for all individuals. Impaired cognition can have health consequences, such as first stroke,
falls, and institutionalization.3 It may reduce an individual's ability to communicate pain to health
care providers, carry out instrumental activities of daily living, cope with chronic disease symptoms, perform self-care and adhere to
The number of Canadians living with cognitive impairment, including
dementia, was 747,000 in 2012 and will double to 1.4 million by 2031.5 The annual economic burden is expected to increase substantially from
approximately $15 billion in 2008 to $153 billion by the year 2038.6
"The burden of dementia is growing rapidly. As a physician, I witness
first-hand the profound impact of Alzheimer's disease and related
dementias on the everyday lives of patients and their families. The
hardship is greater when cognitive changes are not identified early,"
says Dr. Sharon Cohen, Neurologist and Medical Director of Toronto
Memory Program. "New computerized assessment tools are valuable in the
accurate detection of early cognitive impairment and in monitoring
cognitive change over time."
About the Study7
The study included 653 healthy older adults, 68 adults with mild
cognitive impairment (MCI), and 44 adults with AD who completed the
Cognigram™ system. Participants were recruited from the Australian Imaging,
Biomarkers, and Lifestyle (AIBL) Study of Ageing, and the AIBL-Rate of
Change sub-study (AIBL-ROCS). The four performance measures of
Cognigram™ were reduced to two composites - psychomotor/attention and
learning/working memory. Sensitivity and specificity analyses were
conducted on the two composites to determine their clinical utility.
The AIBL study in which participants were recruited from, aimed to
discover which biomarkers, cognitive characteristics, and health and
lifestyle factors determine subsequent development of symptomatic
Alzheimer's disease.8 The AIBL study is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund
About the Results10
Large impairments in MCI (d = 1.20) and AD (d = 2.20) were identified
for the learning/working memory composite but not the
psychomotor/attention composite (MCI d = 0.40; AD d = 0.50). Using a
cutscore of -1.96, the learning/working memory composite showed 85.71
per cent sensitivity and 96.81 per cent specificity to a clinical
classification of Alzheimer's disease. Both composite scores showed
high test-retest reliability (0.95) over four months. Performance on
the memory composite was also related to performance on the MMSE, with
worse scores on the MMSE associated with worse performance on the
Cognigram™ memory composite.
Cognigram™ is a computer-based system designed to measure and monitor
cognitive function for neuro-degenerative diseases such as mild
cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Merck Canada Inc.
promotes Cognigram™ in Canada. Cognigram™ was created and is supplied by Cogstate Ltd. The partnership is part of
the ongoing commitment from Merck to improve disease management
involving the central nervous system.
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be
well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.
Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and
animal products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140
countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate
our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching
policies, programs and partnerships. For more information about our
operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.
This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based
upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are
subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no
guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will
receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to
be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate
or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ
materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry
conditions and competition; general economic factors, including
interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of
pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the
United States and internationally; global trends toward health care
cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents
attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product
development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck's ability
to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing
difficulties or delays; financial instability of international
economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of
Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the
exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory
Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking
statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ
materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can
be found in Merck's 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's
other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
available at the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).
1 Maruff, Paul et al. Clinical utility of the Cogstate brief battery in
Alzheimer's disease related memory impairment. Poster presented at the
Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Sunday, July 14,
2 Gilmour, Heather. Cognitive performance of Canadian seniors. Statistics
Canada. June 2011. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2011002/article/11473-eng.pdf.
5 Alzheimer Society of Canada. A new way of looking at the impact of
dementia in Canada. Available at: http://www.alzheimer.ca/~/media/Files/national/Media-releases/asc_factsheet_new_data_09272012_en.ashx.
6 The Alzheimer Society. Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian
Society. Executive Summary. 2010. Available at: http://www.alzheimer.ca/on/~/media/Files/national/Advocacy/ASC_Rising%20Tide-Executive%20Summary_Eng.ashx.
7 Maruff, Paul et al. Clinical utility of the Cogstate brief battery in
Alzheimer's disease related memory impairment. Abstract. 2013.
8 Introducing the AIBL. The Australian Imaging, Biomarker & Lifestyle
Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL). May 14, 2013. Available at: http://www.aibl.csiro.au/.
10 Maruff, Paul et al. Clinical utility of the Cogstate brief battery in
Alzheimer's disease related memory impairment. Abstract. 2013.
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