Validity evidence for the use of automated neuropsychologic assessment metrics as a screening tool for cognitive impairment in systemic lupus erythematosus

Publication type
Journal article
Tayer-Shifman OE, Green R, Beaton DE, Ruttan L, Wither JE, Tartaglia MC, Kakvan M, Lombardi S, Anderson N, Su J, Bonilla D
Date published
2020 Dec 01
Arthritis Care and Research
Open Access?

OBJECTIVE: Screening for cognitive impairment in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) conventionally relies on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) neuropsychologic battery (NB), which is not universally available. To develop a more accessible screening approach, we assessed validity of the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM). Using the ACR NB as the gold standard for cognitive impairment classification, the objectives were 1) to measure overall discriminative validity of the ANAM for cognitive impairment versus no cognitive impairment, 2) to identify ANAM subtests and scores that best differentiate patients with cognitive impairment from those with no cognitive impairment, and 3) to derive ANAM composite indices and cutoffs. METHODS: A total of 211 consecutive adult patients, female and male, with SLE were administered the ANAM and ACR NB. 1) For overall discriminative validity of the ANAM, we compared patients with cognitive impairment versus those with no cognitive impairment on 4 scores. 2) Six ANAM models using different scores were developed, and the most discriminatory subtests were selected using logistic regression analyses. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was calculated to establish ANAM validity against the ACR NB. 3) ANAM composite indices and cutoffs were derived for the best models, and sensitivities and specificities were calculated. RESULTS: Patients with no cognitive impairment performed better on most ANAM subtests, supporting ANAM's discriminative validity. Cognitive impairment could be accurately identified by selected ANAM subtests with top models, demonstrating excellent AUCs of 81% and 84%. Derived composite indices and cutoffs demonstrated sensitivity of 78-80% and specificity of 70%. CONCLUSION: This study provides support for ANAM's discriminative validity for cognitive impairment and utility for cognitive screening in adult SLE. Derived composite indices and cutoffs enhance clinical applicability