To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.
2013 Grants - Gifford
Cognitive Complaints in Community-Dwelling Adults
Katherine Gifford, Psy.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
2013 New Investigator Research Grant
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a condition characterized by mild declines in memory and other brain functions. Many people with mild cognitive impairment go on to develop Alzheimer's disease within a five year period. Studies also show that brain degeneration is severe and irreversible by the time a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's is made. Thus, it is vital to identify people with mild cognitive impairment before the dementia-related changes in their brain become too widespread.
In preliminary research, Katherine Gifford, Psy.D., and colleagues have found that at least half of all individuals with mild cognitive impairment go undiagnosed. Primary care physicians often have insufficient time or screening tools to make accurate MCI diagnoses. These problems suggest the need for a fast, reliable, cost-effective method of identifying people with memory deficits who may need further cognitive testing.
For their grant, Dr. Gifford and colleagues will assess the prevalence of "cognitive complaints" in a group of middle-aged and older individuals in Nashville, Tennessee. Recent studies have found cognitive complaints, which include frustration over memory loss, may be an early indicator of unhealthy brain aging. The team will then work with another participant group in Nashville to develop a set of questions for reliably measuring the severity of a person's cognitive complaints. Dr. Gifford's team hopes this questionnaire might represent a cost-effective tool for physicians to use to identify a wider variety of people at the early stages of dementia.