Sensitivity of Individual and Composite Test Scores from the Cogstate Brief Battery to Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia Due to Alzheimer’s Disease

November 28, 2023

Authors: Joshua P White, Adrian Schembri, Carmen Prenn-Gologranc, Matej Ondrus, Stanislav Katina, Petr Novak, Yen Ying Lim, Chris Edgar, Paul Maruff

Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

DOI: 10.3233/JAD-230352

Year Published: 2023


The Cogstate Brief Battery (CBB) is a computerized cognitive test battery used commonly to identify cognitive deficits related to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, AD and normative samples used to understand the sensitivity of the CBB to AD in the clinic have been limited, as have the outcome measures studied.


This study investigated the sensitivity of CBB outcomes, including potential composite scores, to cognitive impairment in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia due to AD, in carefully selected samples.


Samples consisted of 4,871 cognitively unimpaired adults and 184 adults who met clinical criteria for MCI (Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) = 0.5) or dementia (CDR > 0.5) due to AD and CBB naive. Speed and accuracy measures from each test were examined, and theoretically- and statistically-derived composites were created. Sensitivity and specificity of classification of cognitive impairment were compared between outcomes.


Individual CBB measures of learning and working memory showed high discriminability for AD-related cognitive impairment for CDR 0.5 (AUCs ∼ 0.79-0.88), and CDR > 0.5 (AUCs ∼ 0.89-0.96) groups. Discrimination ability for theoretically derived CBB composite measures was high, particularly for the Learning and Working Memory (LWM) composite (CDR 0.5 AUC = 0.90, CDR > 0.5 AUC = 0.97). As expected, statistically optimized linear composite measures showed strong discrimination abilities albeit similar to the LWM composite.


In older adults, the CBB is effective for discriminating cognitive impairment due to MCI or AD-dementia from unimpaired cognition with the LWM composite providing the strongest sensitivity.

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