ICMR concludes study to standardise diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment

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Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently concluded a study on developing neuropsychological battery in Indian languages to standardise diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Neuropsychological battery provide a structured approach to assess cognitive function. This battery has been developed and validated in 5 Indian languages.

ICMR constituted multidisciplinary expert group collaborated towards adapting and validating a neurocognitive test battery, that is, the ICMR Neurocognitive Tool Box (ICMR-NCTB) in five Indian languages -Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam for illiterates and literates to standardise diagnosis of dementia and MCI in India.

Following a review of existing international and national efforts at standardising dementia diagnosis, the ICMR-NCTB was developed and adapted to the Indian setting of socio-linguistic diversity.

The battery consisted of tests of cognition, behaviour, and functional activities. A uniform protocol for diagnosis of normal cognition, MCI and dementia due to neuro-degenerative diseases and stroke was followed in six centres.

A systematic plan for validating the ICMR-NCTB and establishing cut-off values in a diverse multicentric cohort was developed.

A key outcome of the study is the development of a comprehensive diagnostic tool for diagnosis of dementia and MCI due to varied etiologies, in the diverse socio-demographic setting of India.

The battery is envisaged to be provided free of cost to help in understanding burden of dementia in low and middle income countries beside India. It has a 5 minute version for screening in clinics followed by 30 minute version. The 60 minute versions can be used for research purpose.

The tool is a part of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) mega project on Dementia cohort.

A paper titled “Standardising Dementia Diagnosis Across Linguistic and Educational Diversity: Study Design of the Indian Council of Medical Research-Neurocognitive Tool Box (ICMR-NCTB)” has recently come out in Journal of International Neuropsychiatric Society.

The study is relevant as a major challenge to study dementia is the limited availability of standardised diagnostic tools for use in populations with linguistic and educational diversity.

The objectives of the study were to also develop a standardised and comprehensive neuro-cognitive test battery to diagnose dementia and MCI due to varied etiologies, across different languages and educational levels in India, to facilitate research efforts in diverse settings.

While the burden of dementia is increasing in low- and middle-income countries, there is a low rate of diagnosis and paucity of research in these regions.

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