Aim Seventeen percent of children with sickle cell disease (SCD) between the ages of 6 and 16 have silent infarcts, which can cause problems with attention, coordination, visual-motor speed and executive function. There is a need for a robust screening tool for assessment of cognition, which could identify children for further specialist testing.
The Cogstate battery is computer-based program that assesses cognition and has been used in several clinical settings, both adult and paediatric.
The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of using the Cogstate Battery as a tool for the assessment of cognition in children with SCD. It was hypothesised that the Cogstate battery would be easy to use within this setting and would be acceptable to patients, parents and assessors.
The Cogstate battery has not been used in children with SCD before.
Methods Eight clinically well children, aged 10–17 with SCD were recruited to this study. A battery of 6 tests (Table 1) was created. After testing each patient was asked to give an opinion of how they found the tests. A mark was given for each test and a score of over 90 represented normal cognition in the area tested, 81–90 represented mild impairment and below 81 represened impairment.
Results Eight patients completed the battery, taking on average 29 min. The test was easy to carry out and although some children found it boring, they all finished the tests without distress. The test report generated by the Cogstate website allowed results to be analysed quickly and with ease. The Continuous Paired Associate Learning test was not displayed as part of the test report as there was insufficient normal data to draw conclusions from the results within the age group tested.
Conclusion The Cogstate battery is a feasible tool for paediatric SCD patients and can be undertaken in a clinic setting. This feasibility study will help design a prospective, comparative study of cognition in children with SCD using the Cogstate battery and conventional neuropsychometric assessment and once validated, would be a useful tool to assess cognition and institute timely educational and medical intervention.
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