The Diagnostic and Prognostic Value of Neuropsychological Assessment in Memory Clinic Patients

Willemijn J. Jansen, Ron L.H. Handels, Pieter Jelle Visser, Pauline Aalten, Femke Bouwman, Jurgen Claassen, Peter Van Domburg, Erik Hoff, Jan Hoogmoed, Albert F.G. Leentjens, Marcel Olde Rikkert, Ania M. Oleksik, Machiel Smid, Philip Scheltens, Claire Wolfs, Frans Verhey, Inez H.G.B. Ramakers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Neuropsychological testing has long been embedded in daily clinical practice at memory clinics but the added value of a complete neuropsychological assessment (NPA) to standard clinical evaluation is unknown. Objective: To evaluate the added diagnostic and prognostic value of NPA to clinical evaluation only in memory clinic patients. Methods: In 221 memory clinic patients of a prospective cohort study, clinical experts diagnosed clinical syndrome (subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or dementia) and etiology (Alzheimer's disease (AD) or no AD), and provided a prognosis of disease course (decline or no decline) before and after results of NPA were made available. The reference standard was a panel consensus based on all clinical information at baseline and up to 2 follow-up assessments. Results: With NPA data available, clinicians changed their initial syndromal diagnosis in 22 of patients, and the etiological diagnosis as well as the prognosis in 15. This led to an increase in correctly classified cases of 18 for syndromal diagnosis, 5 for etiological diagnosis, and 1 for prognosis. NPA data resulted in the largest improvement in patients initially classified as SCI (syndrome: 93.3 (n = 14) correctly reclassified, etiology: net reclassification improvement [NRI] = 0.61, prognosis: NRI = 0.13) or MCI (syndrome: 89.3 (n = 23) correctly reclassified, etiology: NRI = 0.17, prognosis: NRI = 0.14), while there was no improvement in patients with dementia (syndrome: 100 (n = 1) correctly reclassified, etiology: NRI = -0.05, prognosis: NRI = -0.06). Overall, inclusion of NPA in the diagnostic process increased confidence in all diagnoses with 6-7. Conclusion: Administration of a complete NPA after standard clinical evaluation has added value for diagnosing cognitive syndrome and its underlying etiology in patients regarded as non-demented based on the first clinical impression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-689
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cognitive disorders
  • consensus
  • diagnosis
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • neuropsychological tests
  • outpatient clinic
  • prognosis
  • reclassification

Cite this