Lower practice effects as a marker of cognitive performance and dementia risk: A literature review

Roos J. Jutten*, Evan Grandoit, Nancy S. Foldi, Sietske A. M. Sikkes, Richard N. Jones, Seo-Eun Choi, Melissa L. Lamar, Diana K. N. Louden, Joanne Rich, Douglas Tommet, Paul K. Crane, Laura A. Rabin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Practice effects (PEs) are improvements in performance after repeated exposure to test materials, and typically viewed as a source of bias in repeated cognitive assessments. We aimed to determine whether characterizing PEs could also provide a useful marker of early cognitive decline. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature, searching PsycInfo (Ebsco) and PubMed databases for articles studying PEs in aging and dementia populations. Articles published between 1920 and 2019 were included. Result: We identified 259 articles, of which 27 studied PEs as markers of cognitive performance. These studies consistently showed that smaller, less-robust PEs were associated with current diagnostic status and/or future cognitive decline. In addition, lower PEs were associated with Alzheimer's disease risk factors and neurodegeneration biomarkers. Conclusion: PEs provide a potentially useful marker of cognitive decline, and could prove valuable as part of a cost-effective strategy to select individuals who are at-risk for dementia for future interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12055
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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