Advanced Psychometrics Methods in Cognitive Aging Research

Measuring and Modeling Early Cognitive Decline

2015 Conference Overview

The theme of this conference is Measuring and Modeling Early Cognitive Decline. There is growing evidence that cognitive changes associated with common diseases of aging are caused by brain injury that may be developing for decades prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. Identifying the earliest cognitive changes of diseases of aging and discriminating them from normal cognitive aging in the absence of brain pathology is critical for diagnosis and intervention to prevent irreversible brain injury, monitoring disease progression and response to treatment, and establishing prognosis for future cognitive health and decline.

The overarching goal of the 2015 meeting will be to characterize cognitive trajectories in the transition from normal cognitive aging to pathological cognitive decline. Specific objectives will include:
1) Model cognitive change in relation to age and biomarkers of brain disease
2) Identify cognitive domains that are most sensitive to changes associated with specific diseases
3) Evaluate measurement parameters that maximize sensitivity for detecting disease related changes in cognition

Datasets will include the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI); the Religious Orders Study (ROS), Memory and Aging Project (MAP), and Minority Aging Research Study (MARS) from Rush University; and the Framingham Heart Study, Original Cohort. All datasets will provide longitudinal measurement of late life cognition. ADNI will provide longitudinal brain imaging and biomarker measures. Framingham data also will include longitudinal imaging measures. Rush studies will provide comprehensive neuropathology data. These rich and varied datasets will provide opportunities to develop and validate models and test hypotheses using very different samples methods.