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Rexahn Pharmaceuticals submits Phase II protocol for study of Serdaxin in treatment of PD

August 17, 2015

The researchers analyzed the response times for the tasks and the number of items that were recalled, with and without additional cues. The MCI group showed the greatest sensitivity to added cues - the additional input either substantially helped or inhibited their performance. But like the computer model, estimates of capacity highlighted the greatest cognitive difference between the MCI group and the others.

This study's approach to defining processing capacity is unusual. The scientists combined disparate principles of engineering and statistics, mathematically translating processing capacity into what is called the "hazard function."

The hazard function is well known in engineering, but relatively new for fields like psychology. It gives the probability that a task that is not yet completed will be completed in the next interval of time.

By measuring how long it takes a participant to recall the objects during the FCSRT, the psychologists fit a model based on the hazard function to each participant and obtain a measure of his or her capacity for the memorization task.

The difference in hazard function measures between the MCI group and all other groups was statistically much more pronounced than the differences between all groups in the number of items they recalled. These hazard function differences also outweighed the contrasts between all groups in their response times. The hazard function model proved to be the most sensitive diagnostic for cognitive distinctions in the groups, making it a reliable indicator of capacity and a better signal of the underlying hippocampal atrophy than processing speed alone.

The researchers' results are valid for every person, not just for the whole group. Since the modified FCSRT relies on personal reaction times, hazard analysis and performance, it can track the progression of MCI for anyone, anywhere there is access to a computer.

"These results are still preliminary, but very encouraging," Wenger said. "We plan to study what this approach can tell us about mental impairments related to other conditions, like iron deficiencies, in the future."

Source: Penn State