Objectives: For large scale follow up studies with non-demented patients in which cognition is an end-point, there is a need for short, inexpensive, sensitive, and reliable neuropsychological tests that are suitable for repeated measurements. The commonly used Mini-Mental-State-Examination fulfils only the first two requirements.
Methods: In the PROspective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER), 5804 elderly subjects aged 70 to 82 years were examined using a learning test (memory), a coding test (general speed), and a short version of the Stroop test (attention). Data presented here were collected at dual baseline, before randomisation for active treatment.
Results: The tests proved to be reliable (with test/retest reliabilities ranging from acceptable (r=0.63) to high (r=0.88) and sensitive to detect small differences in subjects from different age categories. All tests showed significant practice effects: performance increased from the first measurement to the first follow up after two weeks.
Conclusion: Normative data are provided that can be used for one time neuropsychological testing as well as for assessing individual and group change. Methods for analysing cognitive change are proposed.