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Enriching Participant Eligibility for Clinical Trials through Pre-Screening for Cognitive Deficit

Finding participants for clinical trials in the pre-clinical or prodromal stage of Alzheimer’s disease prior to the onset of cognitive and functional decline can be challenging, time-consuming and expensive. Episodic memory tasks such as CANTAB Paired Associates Learning (PAL) are associated with AD biomarkers, hippocampal and temporal-frontal network function and may therefore be useful for pre-screening.

In this research, presented at CTAD 2017, we assessed the utility of PAL to differentiate patients from controls, enrich samples for amyloid positive participants and identify deficits in other commonly-used cognitive tasks such as CERAD learning and delayed recall.


Data were synthesised from meta-analysis of published case-control studies, systematic quantitative review of published studies reporting the association between CANTAB PAL and CSF biomarkers, EDAR and PharmaCog.


The results showed that PAL can be used as a brief, computerised test to pre-screen subjects and identify those with episodic memory deficits early in the recruitment process, to enrich samples for biomarker positive subjects.

This task can be used at home as a web-based assessment as well as in-clinic, potentially reducing trial costs, screen failure rates, site and patient burden, by targeting subjects with a high probability of meeting screening criteria.

Interested in learning more about the enrichment of participant eligibility for clinical trials through pre-screening for cognitive deficit? Download this poster.


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