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3 August 2022

A novel episodic memory test optimized for high frequency assessment

This poster was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Tuesday 2nd August 2022. Read below for a summary and to view the full poster.

Poster Summary

A decline in episodic memory is a strong marker of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Measures of episodic memory can show variability across time and so using assessments that can measure episodic memory at a high frequency has the potential to capture richer data. We have created a tool that can assesses episodic memory at a high frequency. We measured the cross-sectional properties of the test to compare metrics across a wide age range and to compare them to two other CANTAB tasks: Spatial Working Memory (SWM) and Paired Associates Learning (PAL). 133 participants aged 18-68 took part. After undertaking a tutorial test, participants were asked to recall two sets of four items, one with animal emojis and another with abstract shapes. After a two-hour delay recall for the two sets was tested again.  We found that delayed metrics that map episodic memory showed the strongest age-related effects. We also confirmed that the variance overlaps with the established CANTAB tasks. We also measured how well the test did when used at a high frequency. For this test, we recruited 117 participants, aged 23-79. Participants completed the animal emoji task, once in the morning and again in the afternoon after a minimum six-hour delay. We found that the task was short enough and engaging enough to ensure most people (75%) were able to complete all 14 sessions. There was no evidence of task-learning effects.

Full poster

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Author portrait

Alex Anwyl-Irvine, R&D Scientist