Cogstate Brief Battery: Cognition and the feigning of cognitive impairment in chronic pain

February 7, 2021

Authors: Tamar Lupu, Yoram Braw, Yaron Sacher, Motti Ratmansky

Journal: Applied Neuropsychology: Adult

DOI: 10.1080/23279095.2021.1873138

Year Published: 2021

Chronic pain (CP) is often associated with cognitive impairment. The Cogstate Brief Battery (CBB), a computerized assessment battery, has been studied in several neuropsychiatric disorders but not in CP. Since feigning of cognitive impairment is common in CP, the current study aimed to assess the CBB’s utility in differentiating CP patients (n = 64) from healthy participants (n = 33), as well as to assess the effect of simulating cognitive impairment by CP patients on performance in the battery. CP outpatients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (a) Patients performing the CBB to the best of their ability. (b) Patients simulating cognitive impairment. Independent-samples t-tests indicated that three of four CBB tasks successfully differentiated CP patients from matched healthy controls. Additionally, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) indicated that CP patients who simulated cognitive impairment performed more poorly in all four CBB tasks, with the detection task having the strongest discrimination capacity. This is the first study to point toward the usefulness and sensitivity of the CBB for assessment of cognition and detection of feigned cognitive impairment in CP. Further studies are required to validate these preliminary findings and assess the CBB’s utility in daily clinical practice.

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