COGNITO is a computerized neuropsychometric examination based on well-established cognitive tests for PC on a Windows operating system.
It was originally developed for MacIntosh (version ECO) for use in both population and clinical studies of brain ageing. The original version was used in a prospective population study from general practice from which normative data was derived, and the ability of the battery to detect difficulties in information processing two years prior to the diagnosis of dementia was also established. The battery has been subsequently used to track cognitive changes due to depression, following anesthesia, as a consequence of anticholinergic drug use, and in the development of diagnostic criteria for MCI. More recently it has been used to track cognitive changes during treatment in schizophrenia. COGNITO assesses reaction time, primary and working memory, verbal and visuospatial secondary memory, implicit learning, language skills (word and syntax comprehension, naming, verbal fluency), functional and semantic categorization of visual data, visual reasoning and form perception), and focused and divided attention (visual and auditory modalities) and crystallized intelligence (vocabulary). COGNITO may be used in all persons over 16 without severe sensory difficulties and is particularly sensitive to changes in the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus, thus being sensitive to pre-clinical changes in dementia. Responses are made via a tactile screen which permits the recording of response latency (deducting reaction time thus permitting an estimation of information processing time for each task). The examination may be carried out by trained lay interviewers with the possibility of the interviewer's voice being replaced by pre-recorded instructions. Qualitative aspects of performance (perseveration, intrusions, field neglect are also recorded). Following repeated failures the programme shifts automatically to a new sub-test to avoid discouragement in poorly performing subjects. A result sheet is produced at the end of each administration in both word and exel format. The examination takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete depending on the ability of the subject.