A brief neuropsychological test of spatial memory that is designed to be sensitive to the early stages of AD

About

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. It is progressive, so candidate therapies aim to slow the advance of the disease in its early stages. To evaluate these new drugs, clinical trials rely on cognitive assessments that are sensitive to the earliest signs of the disease, at which patients may receive a preliminary diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).

The Four Mountains Test is a brief neuropsychological test of spatial memory that is designed to be sensitive to the early stages of AD. Patients view specifically constructed computer-generated landscapes, and are then asked to recognize the same place seen from a different viewpoint from 4 alternative images ().

This ability to distinguish spatial changes is thought to depend on neurons in the hippocampal formation which encode representation of location that is independent of viewpoint.

The hippocampal region is one of the first brain regions affected in the early stages of AD and academic research indicates that performance on the Four Mountains Test can distinguish MCI patients with AD pathology from those without. Research also demonstrates that it is a better predictor of dementia risk in healthy middle-aged adults than currently used tests of episodic memory, verbal fluency and executive function.

Key Benefits

Non-invasive

Easy and quick administration by non-specialist staff

Can be applied to patients from any language or culture

Sensitive to hippocampal pathology

Over a decade of peer-reviewed research with patients

Recommended as a cognitive outcome for preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) by the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) consortium and in use in clinical trials.

One study found 4MT to be a better predictor of Alzheimer’s Disease risk than tests of episodic memory, verbal fluency and executive functioning in middle-aged adults at high-risk of late-onset AD

Applications

Cognitive assessment in clinical trials (Mild Cognitive Impairment/Alzheimer’s Disease and other conditions involving hippocampal dysfunction).
Medical diagnosis

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