Feasibility of remote neurocognitive assessment: pandemic adaptations for a clinical trial, the Cognition and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Parkinson’s Disease, Effect of Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (COPE-PAP) study

Trials. 2021 Dec 11;22(1):910. doi: 10.1186/s13063-021-05879-1.


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic poses challenges for timely outcome assessment in randomized clinical trials (RCT). Our aim was to describe our remote neurocognitive testing (NCT) protocol administered by telephone in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

METHODS: We studied PD patients with OSA and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score ≤ 27 participating in a RCT assessing OSA treatment impact on cognition. Trial outcomes included change in MoCA and specific cognitive domains from baseline to 3 and 6 months. With COVID19 pandemic-related restrictions, 3-month visits were converted from in-person to telephone administration with materials mailed to participants for compatible tests and retrieved by courier the same day. In exploratory analyses, we compared baseline vs. 3-month results in the control arm, which were not expected to change significantly (test-re-test), using a paired t-test and assessed agreement with the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

RESULTS: Seven participants were approached and agreed to remote NCT at 3-month follow-up. Compared to the in-person NCT control arm group, they were younger (60.6 versus 70.6 years) and had a shorter disease course (3.9 versus 9.2 years). Remote NCT data were complete. The mean test-retest difference in MoCA was similar for in-person and remote NCT control-arm groups (between group difference – 0.69; 95%CI – 3.67, 2.29). Agreement was good for MOCA and varied for specific neurocognitive tests.

CONCLUSION: Telephone administration of the MoCA and a modified neurocognitive battery is feasible in patients with PD and OSA. Further validation will require a larger sample size.

PMID:34895299 | DOI:10.1186/s13063-021-05879-1

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