Cognitive and Mood Assessment in Stroke Research
Focused Review of Contemporary Studies
Background and Purpose—International guidelines recommend cognitive and mood assessments for stroke survivors; these assessments also have use in clinical trials. However, there is no consensus on the optimal assessment tool(s). We aimed to describe use of cognitive and mood measures in contemporary published stroke trials.
Methods—Two independent, blinded assessors reviewed high-impact journals representing: general medicine (n=4), gerontology/rehabilitation (n=3), neurology (n=4), psychiatry (n=4), psychology (n=4), and stroke (n=3) January 2000 to October 2011 inclusive. Journals were hand-searched for relevant, original research articles that described cognitive/mood assessments in human stroke survivors. Data were checked for relevance by an independent clinician and clinical psychologist.
Results—Across 8826 stroke studies, 488 (6%) included a cognitive or mood measure. Of these 488 articles, total number with cognitive assessment was 408 (83%) and mood assessment tools 247 (51%). Total number of different assessments used was 367 (cognitive, 300; mood, 67). The most commonly used cognitive measure was Folstein's Mini-Mental State Examination (n=180 articles, 37% of all articles with cognitive/mood outcomes); the most commonly used mood assessment was the Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression(n=43 [9%]).
Conclusions—Cognitive and mood assessments are infrequently used in stroke research. When used, there is substantial heterogeneity and certain prevalent assessment tools may not be suited to stroke cohorts. Research and guidance on the optimal cognitive/mood assessment strategies for clinical practice and trials is required.
- Received February 6, 2012.
- Accepted February 16, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.