Study Looks at Ability to Drive in Patients with Azheimer’s, Other Cognitive Impairments

Study Looks at Ability to Drive in Patients with Azheimer’s, Other Cognitive Impairments
Toronto researchers have examined the driving ability in people with cognitive impairments, including those with Alzheimer's disease. The recent report, A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of On-Road Simulator and Cognitive Driving Assessment in Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment, appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Led by Megan Hird of the Neuroscience Research Program at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, investigators hoped to understand if cognitive tests predict driving ability in people with Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. The team reviewed the existing medical literature on driving assessment methods that used tests such as actual on-road driving, cognitive tests, and driving simulations. The authors then tried to find which tests were best for detecting driving difficulties. The review and meta-analysis included 32 articles, including 1,293 subjects with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), 92 subjects with mild cognitive impairment, and 2,040 healthy people with neither problem. There were several statistically significant predictors of driving performance. These included global cognition, visuospatial function, and attention and executive function. Two tests were the most effective for predicting driving performance: the Trail Making Test part B and the Maze test. In the Trail Making Test part B, a person is asked to connect alternating encircled numbers and letters. This assesses visual attention and ability to change tasks. The Maze test involves the use of drawn mazes to measure planning
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