Timed Oral Cognitive Tests Predict Brainstem Dysfunction Complaints
Objectives: Examine the relationship between timed oral tests of cognition and complaints associated with brainstem dysfunction.
Methods: Patients who had undergone neuropsychological testing (N = 66) were examined via retrospective chart review. Patients completed orally administered neurocognitive measures as part of a neuropsychological battery. Kendall’s τ correlations were computed to examine the relationship between the neurocognitive measures and Incapacity Status Scale items on feeding and speech/hearing. Ordinal regressions examined predictive models of these disability items using three neurocognitive measures: the symbol digit modalities test (SDMT), Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT), and the Stroop Color and Word Test.
Results: Significant correlations were noted between at least one brainstem disability item and six neuropsychological tests. Models using the SDMT, COWAT, and Stroop significantly predicted scores on both feeding (R2 = .438, p = .001) and speech/hearing items (R2 = .335, p = .001).
Conclusions: A strong predictive relationship exists between timed oral cognitive tests and subjective complaints of brainstem dysfunction. In patients with impaired production of speech, such tests may be skewed measures of cognitive function; however, such tests could possess previously unseen value as objective measurements of disordered brainstem activity.