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Castanho, Teresa C.; Amorim, Liliana; Zihl, Joseph; Palha, Joana A.; Sousa, Nuno; Santos, Nadine C. (2014): Telephone-based screening tools for mild cognitive impairment and dementia in aging studies: a review of validated instruments. In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Vol. 6, 16
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Abstract

The decline of cognitive function in old age is a great challenge for modern society. The simultaneous increase in dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases justifies a growing need for accurate and valid cognitive assessment instruments. Although in-person testing is considered the most effective and preferred administration mode of assessment, it can pose not only a research difficulty in reaching large and diverse population samples, but it may also limit the assessment and follow-up of individuals with either physical or health limitations or reduced motivation. Therefore, telephone-based cognitive screening instruments can be an alternative and attractive strategy to in-person assessments. In order to give a current view of the state of the art of telephone-based tools for cognitive assessment in aging, this review highlights some of the existing instruments with particular focus on data validation, cognitive domains assessed, administration time and instrument limitations and advantages. From the review of the literature, performed using the databases EBSCO, Science Direct and PubMed, it was possible to verify that while telephone-based tools are useful in research and clinical practice, providing a promising approach, the methodologies still need refinement in the validation steps, including comparison with either single instruments or neurocognitive test batteries, to improve specificity and sensitivity to validly detect subtle changes in cognition that may precede cognitive impairment.