Initial validation of a screening instrument for amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Virginia G. Murphy (2007)

The goal of this dissertation was to provide the initial validation of a brief, 18-question, YES/NO, informant-completed questionnaire (The Alzheimer's Disease Caregiver Questionnaire, ADCQ) as a screening instrument for Mild Cognitive Impairment of the Amnestic type (a-MCI). The ADCQ was completed by two groups of people who were of comparable age, gender distribution, and education; the first group was comprised of the knowledgeable informants (family member, companion or friend who had regular contact with the patient) of 45 successive referrals to the Memory Clinic in Bennington, VT who were subsequently diagnosed with a-MCI, while the second group consisted of the knowledgeable informants of 36 cognitively intact, community dwelling volunteers. Following completion of the questionnaire, patients subsequently diagnosed with a-MCI underwent a full diagnostic evaluation using the Peterson criteria (Peterson, 2004). Control subjects provided medical/psychological history and underwent neuropsychological testing. Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis was used to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the ADCQ in a-MCI. CART techniques yielded a sensitivity = 82.2% and a specificity = 88.9%. The results suggest that the ADCQ is sensitive and specific to a-MCI and may be useful in making the initial distinctions (i.e., screening) between patients experiencing cognitive changes related to the normal aging process and those experiencing memory impairments due to a-MCI.