Kanno S, Saito M, Hayashi A, Uchiyama M, Hiraoka K, Nishio Y, Hisanaga K, Mori E; Acta Neurologica Scandinavica (Jan 2012)
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to develop and validate a bedside test for executive function in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty consecutive patients with INPH and 20 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) were enrolled in this study. We developed the counting-backward test for evaluating executive function in patients with INPH. Two indices that are considered to be reflective of the attention deficits and response suppression underlying executive dysfunction in INPH were calculated: the first-error score and the reverse-effect index. Performance on both the counting-backward test and standard neuropsychological tests for executive function was assessed in INPH and AD patients. RESULTS: The first-error score, reverse-effect index and the scores from the standard neuropsychological tests for executive function were significantly lower for individuals in the INPH group than in the AD group. The two indices for the counting-backward test in the INPH group were strongly correlated with the total scores for Frontal Assessment Battery and Phonemic Verbal Fluency. The first-error score was also significantly correlated with the error rate of the Stroop colour-word test and the score of the go/no-go test. In addition, we found that the first-error score highly distinguished patients with INPH from those with AD using these tests. CONCLUSION: The counting-backward test is useful for evaluating executive dysfunction in INPH and for differentiating between INPH and AD patients. In particular, the first-error score may reflect deficits in the response suppression related to executive dysfunction in INPH.