The development of comparison standards for the cognitive measures employed in Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

Dr. Holly Tuokko
University of Victoria
Q: What did we learn?

Dr. Tuokko has provided a clear set of empirical baseline for what can be considered healthy cognition for French- and English-speaking Canadians, and what would be considered concerning. This is vital information to have for the diagnosis of dementia for Canadians.

Q: Why is this knowledge important?

With the ability to identify cognitive health criteria for Canadians, future research can outline the trajectories of many complex factors that are intertwined with living with dementia.

Dr. Tuokko used the large data set to argue for a comprehensive creation of normative comparative standards for cognitive measures. This provides clinicians and researchers robust and trustworthy tools in diagnostics for French- and English-speaking Canadians. Dr. Tuokko’s most important finding during this project was the identification of the best approaches to empirical creation of normative standards.

Q: What are the next steps?

There are two main pathways that should be followed:
1. Replication and expansion of the novel methodological approaches Dr. Tuokko’s team found to be the best in our creation of norms.
2. Identification of health trajectories, and factors of change, in cognition based on the future waves of CLSA data.

PUBLICATIONS

Links to articles, papers and presentations connected this work:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30638131/

ABSTRACT

Change in cognitive functioning is characteristic of normal aging and is evident beginning in mid-life. However, some people exhibit well-maintained cognitive skills into late life and others exhibit early and precipitous decline. Knowing how Canadians of differing characteristics (e.g., men, women) typically perform on measures of cognitive functioning is of great importance for identifying changes associated with medical conditions such as Alzheimer disease.

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is collecting detailed information about the performance of people aged 45-85 years on measures of cognitive functioning for English- and French-speaking Canadians. Understanding the factors that affect cognitive functions and having well-developed Canadian comparison standards are extremely important ways that the CLSA data can readily make an impact for Canadians.

Dr. Tuokko developed comparative standards for the cognitive measures for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). This is a national, long-term study of more than 50,000 people that will continue to 2033. Dr. Tuokko’s work has provided a clear set of baselines for what can be considered healthy cognition for French- and English-speaking Canadians. This is vital information to have for the diagnosis of dementia for Canadians and allows for comparative analysis of the data.

Imagine a world without Alzheimer disease.