Measuring instrumental activities of daily living in non-demented elderly: A comparison of the new performance-based Harvard Automated Phone Task with other functional assessments

Gad A. Marshall, Sarah L. Aghjayan, Maria Dekhtyar, Joseph J. Locascio, Kamal Jethwani, Rebecca E. Amariglio, Sara J. Czaja, David A. Loewenstein, Keith A. Johnson, Reisa A. Sperling, Dorene M. Rentz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Impairment in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) may occur in the earliest stages of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, there are few reliable measures of IADL in MCI or that have a sufficient range of scores in clinically normal (CN) elderly. The objective of this pilot study was to examine the convergent validity of a phone performance-based IADL instrument, the Harvard Automated Phone Task (APT), designed to measure the earliest IADL changes in Alzheimer's disease (AD), with other sensitive performance-based and subjective measures of everyday functional capacity among CN and MCI participants. Methods: Twenty-nine CN and 17 MCI participants were administered the Harvard APT, the computer performance-based Czaja Functional Assessment Battery (CFAB), and the AD Cooperative Study ADL prevention instrument (ADCS ADL-PI) participant and study partner versions; in addition, 52 different CN and 7 MCI participants were administered the Harvard APT and the Subjective Study Partner and Participant-reported (SSPP) IADL scale. The Harvard APT was compared with the three other IADL assessments. Results: In both CN and MCI, better performance on the Harvard APT was associated with better performance on the CFAB. In CN, better performance on the Harvard APT was associated with better ADCS ADL-PI participant-reported IADL, while in MCI better performance on the Harvard APT was associated with better ADCS ADL-PI study partner-reported IADL. Furthermore, in CN better performance on the Harvard APT was associated with better SSPP-IADL participant and study partner-reported IADL. Conclusions: In this small pilot study, the Harvard APT, a brief, self-administered, objective measure of IADL performance, appears to correlate well with other sensitive measures of everyday functioning, providing good preliminary convergent validity for this new measure. Moreover, it appears to perform well across both CN and MCI participants, which suggests that it is a promising measure of early, clinically meaningful functional change. This may not be the case as suggested in our small sample for subjective IADL scales that may perform differentially depending on the reporter (self vs. study partner) across the clinical spectrum possibly due to diminishing awareness of IADL difficulties in individuals who become cognitively impaired. Secondary prevention trials in AD have a great need for such ecologically valid and reliable measures of early IADL changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalAlzheimer's Research and Therapy
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 10 2019

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Everyday functioning
  • Instrumental activities of daily living
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Performance-based
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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