With the aging of the population in large parts of the world, it has become a global priority to detect the earliest signs of cognitive and functional changes. Early detection has been challenging until the development of a novel assessment tool: The Loewenstein-Acevedo Scales for Semantic Interference and Learning - the LASSI-L.
i-Function provides clinicians and researchers empirically designed and thoroughly studied cognitive outcome measures, among them, the LASSI-L, which is used to detect cognitive changes in people at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The LASSI-L detects cognitive changes that suggest the presence of biological markers of increased risk for AD such as amyloid load and cortical atrophy in AD prone brain regions. The classic LASSI-L is administered by a tester in paper and pencil format. The latest development of the LASSI also includes a computerized version which has markedly broadened the utility of the test for self-administration and for clinicians who would like to obtain assessment data and do not have access to testers that can administer the LASSI-L.
R&D investment so far: Over three million dollars with a significant number of important publications. The LASSI-L can differentiate individuals who have normal cognitive aging from those who may be at risk for neurodegeneration. The newly developed brief computerized version of the LASSI (LASSI-BC), is a web-based test available in both English and Spanish that has markedly broadened the accessibility of the LASSI. The LASSI-BC is a self -administered assessment that will be deliverable over the internet such that people concerned with their cognitive status will be able to self-assess their functioning. Clinicians will soon be able to deliver these assessments to their patients with equally seamless access.
In the US there are approx. 46 million people aged 65+, with age being the greatest risk factor for dementia-related cognitive decline. Many people in this age-group are concerned about their cognitive functioning, whether or not they are actually impaired, and the LASSI-BC will allow for an efficient way for them to self-assess their functioning. While there are other self-administered tests in commercial use, they lack the ability to assess semantic interference which has proven sensitivity to the earliest cognitive decline. The LASSI-BC provides a novel method to assess semantic interference effects. A negative LASSI-BC outcome can help reassure those with normal cognition and a positive LASSI-BC outcome can point to the need for further monitoring and evaluation at a very early stage where treatment is more likely to be successful.
While other cognitive assessment measures have been made available and technologically enhanced, most of these instruments are computerized versions of outdated cognitive assessment paradigms that are insensitive to the subtle cognitive changes in older adults that are potentially predictive of Alzheimer’s disease. The vast majority of these tests can only detect fully developed later stage MCI, which has been shown to be identifiable by observers. Thus, these assessments do not enhance the detection of early signs of MCI like the LASSI-L and the LASSI-BC.
The traditional version of the LASSI-L has been used by clinicians and researchers at multiple top medical facilities across the globe, including Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, University of Miami, University of Florida, University of South Carolina, the Fleni Institute in Buenos Aires and Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. The LASSI-L is only available from i-Function.
The LASSI-L is currently delivered in a paper and pencil version for both commercial and research use. Additionally, the LASSI-BC can be delivered for the pharma industry for clinical trials as well as for other selected research use. The next generation of the LASSI-BC is expected to be available in 2020 for broad clinical & research use.