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TECA Test Being Used to Measure Function in MS Patients

September 30, 2015

Researchers say that a novel test that grades MS patients' accuracy and speed in performing novel tasks like adding grocery prices, could be used to also assess their cognitive function. In a trial of 178 MS patients (129 with mild cognitive impairments and 49 healthy controls), the Test of Everyday Cognitive Ability (TECA) correlated with other standard, common neuropsychological tests.

The TECA test was able to accurately discriminate between MS patients and healthy controls, with the MS group performing more poorly. These results were presented at the American Neurological Association meeting.

More than 50% of multiple sclerosis patients experience cognitive impairment. Study co-author and Stony Brook med student said "We wanted a fuller way to measure cognitive impairment in the world that is separate from just a subjective questionnaire." He continued "Despite the fact that cognitive measures have been established to detect deficits, there are a lack of measures that can assess the real-world experience of cognitive impairment in MS."
The TECA test includes tasks such as: counting change, searching through a phonebook and remembering how many pills to take a day. They are judged by completion time and errors. The items are designed to reflect a range of performance in MS populations, Shaw said, and place cognitive tasks such as processing speed, visual scanning, and working memory in the context of everyday situations.

The TECA provides a reliable measure linking cognitive impairment to real-world functioning in MS and is potentially well-suited for clinical trials," Shaw said. The test is now being used with larger testing groups. They also are working on other cognitive measures including a prospective memory test.