Smartphone-Based Measures Can Help ID Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

Individuals with frontotemporal lobar degeneration were accurately differentiated from controls with smartphone tests

MONDAY, April 1, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Smartphone tests can accurately differentiate individuals with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) from controls, according to a study published online April 1 in JAMA Network Open.

Adam M. Staffaroni, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues examined the reliability and validity of smartphone-based cognitive measures for remote FTLD evaluations in a cohort study. During two weeks, controls and participants with FTLD performed smartphone application (app)-based executive functioning tasks and an associated memory task three times. A total of 360 participants were enrolled in the study and divided into discovery and validation cohorts (258 and 102 participants, respectively).

Smartphone tests showed moderate-to-excellent reliability in the participants. The researchers found that the association of smartphone tests with disease severity, criterion-standard neuropsychological tests, and brain volume supported the validity. Individuals with dementia were accurately differentiated from controls by smartphone tests (area under the curve [AUC], 0.93), which were more sensitive to early symptoms (AUC, 0.82) than the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (AUC, 0.68). Highly similar reliability and validity findings were seen in the discovery and validation cohorts. Compared with noncarrier family controls, preclinical participants who harbored pathogenic variants performed significantly worse on three app tasks, but not on a composite of traditional neuropsychological measures.

“The findings of this cohort study, coupled with prior reports indicating that smartphone testing is feasible and acceptable to patients with FTLD, suggest that smartphones may complement traditional in-person research paradigms,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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