Clinical drug trials in preclinical AD populations require novel approaches to participant identification, screening, and enrollment. Execution of these trials requires rapid development of cognitive screening instruments that are straightforward, sensitive to disease-specific pathology, and allow for the interpretation of findings over time relative to demographically age-matched normative samples.
Based on an established body of literature linking declines in hippocampal-dependent learning with the earliest stages of AD pathology, VeraSci has worked in conjunction with leading academics to develop a novel assessment of visuospatial working memory (VSWM).
In a recent validation study enrolling 175 healthy young adults (<55 years), 320 healthy older adults (≥55 years), and 70 individuals with subjective cognitive decline, statistically significant differences were demonstrated among the three groups for the visuospatial working memory total score, as well as the Sequential and Random subscores (p<.001 for all). Bonferroni-corrected post hoc tests showed a significant difference between the young adult group, the older adult group, and the group with subjective cognitive decline, with the older adult group performing significantly worse than the young adult group and the subjective cognitive decline group performing significantly worse than the older adult group on three measures (p≤0.001 for all comparisons).
These findings suggest that this tablet-based visuospatial working memory instrument may be sensitive to the earliest stages of cognitive impairment. The specificity of observed declines in hippocampal-dependent tasks such as this offer a link to underlying Alzheimer’s disease pathology not provided by more global cognitive screening instruments.
The validation study of the visuospatial working memory test was conducted in the VeraSci Innovation Lab, located in the company headquarters in Durham, NC. The ongoing mission of the Innovation Lab is to produce scientifically-valid, innovative methods for cognitive, functional and clinical assessment in clinical trials across multiple therapeutic areas.
An encore presentation containing additional psychometric data will be provided at the 15th Annual Meeting of the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology, Washington D.C., 19-21 February 2019