A new neuropsychological instrument measuring effects of age and drugs on fitness to drive: development, reliability, and validity of MedDrive


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Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
A new neuropsychological instrument measuring effects of age and drugs on fitness to drive: development, reliability, and validity of MedDrive
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20th International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conceference (ICADTS)
Vaucher P., Pétremand E., Cardoso I., Veldstra J., Broers B., Bindschaedler C., Annoni J.M., Mangin P., Favrat B.
Brisbane, Australia, 2013, August, 25-28
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Background: Current guidelines underline the limitations of existing instruments to assess fitness to drive and the poor adaptability of batteries of neuropsychological tests in primary care settings. Aims: To provide a free, reliable, transparent computer based instrument capable of detecting effects of age or drugs on visual processing and cognitive functions. Methods: Relying on systematic reviews of neuropsychological tests and driving performances, we
conceived four new computed tasks measuring: visual processing (Task1), movement attention shift (Task2), executive response, alerting and orientation gain (Task3), and spatial memory (Task4). We then planned five studies to test MedDrive's reliability and validity. Study-1 defined instructions and learning functions collecting data from 105 senior drivers attending an automobile club course. Study-2 assessed concurrent validity for detecting minor cognitive impairment (MCI) against useful field of view (UFOV) on 120 new senior drivers. Study-3 collected data from 200 healthy drivers aged 20-90 to model age related normal cognitive decline. Study-4 measured MedDrive's reliability having 21 healthy volunteers repeat tests five times. Study-5 tested MedDrive's responsiveness to alcohol in a randomised, double-blinded, placebo, crossover, dose-response validation trial including 20 young healthy
volunteers. Results: Instructions were well understood and accepted by all senior drivers. Measures of visual processing (Task1) showed better performances than the UFOV in detecting MCI (ROC 0.770 vs. 0.620; p=0.048). MedDrive was capable of explaining 43.4% of changes occurring with natural cognitive decline. In young healthy drivers, learning effects became negligible from the third session onwards for all tasks except for dual tasking (ICC=0.769). All
measures except alerting and orientation gain were affected by blood alcohol concentrations. Finally, MedDrive was able to explain 29.3% of potential causes of swerving on the driving simulator. Discussion and conclusions: MedDrive reveals improved performances compared to existing computed neuropsychological tasks. It shows promising results both for clinical and research purposes.
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