News

NAME paper available!


We finally published our paper on the Naming Assessment in Multicultural Europe, a new naming test designed to be used with diverse populations. This is one of the instruments to result from the TULIPA project, aiming to improve the assessment of diverse populations in the Netherlands. The NAME uses colored photographs instead of the black-and-white line drawings that we now know are less suitable for low educated patients. You can read the paper in JINS (open access). We hope to formally publish this instrument so it can be purchased (low cost) or even share the instrument for free in the future.

New publications


We have recently published three new open-access papers about diverse populations. The first is the position paper of the newly formed European Consortium on Cross-Cultural Neuropsychology (ECCroN) in the Clinical Neuropsychologist. In this paper, we highlight our European perspective on cross-cultural neuropsychology and our ambitions as a network. The second paper is a systematic review of amyloid and tau trials in Alzheimer’s disease, in which we show the lack of participant diversity levels in these trials and highlight which eligibility criteria may contribute to this underrepresentation of diverse populations. You can read the full paper in Alzheimer’s and Dementia for free. Our last paper in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders describes the level of caregiver burden experienced by caregivers of diverse older individuals with dementia in our multicultural memory clinic.

New paper for clinicians


Over the course of last winter, we wrote a paper for the Dutch journal of neuropsychology (Tijschrift voor Neuropsychologie) in which we provide some tips and tricks for clinicians how to work towards a sensitive cross-cultural neuropsychological assessment (the paper in Dutch can be found here). The way we ask questions to our patients and the instruments we select for the assessment may substantially influence its outcome. We hope to continue with the implementation of some of the lessons we learned in our multicultural memory clinic, and share more information on the TULIPA test battery that we have been working on for the past three years. This test battery will contain a set of neuropsychological tests that can be used to diagnose cognitive impairment in older adults with a culturally, educationally, and linguistically diverse background. In the meantime, we continue to learn from our patients and their caregivers and our (inter)national colleagues.

Diversity at the Alzheimer Europe Conference 2020


At the virtual conference of Alzheimer Europe, there were two dedicated sessions on diversity. Among other talks, our Dutch colleagues from Pharos presented their findings showing the importance of the cooperation between formal and informal carers of diverse elderly with dementia in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our colleagues from Germany presented their findings on national dementia plans across Europe and how these specifically tailor to diverse elders. Our Belgian colleagues showcased their work regarding care for Moroccan patients and our Finnish colleagues talked about a new Interpreter training program. I was very happy to present some of our findings from our Delphi expert study into cross-cultural neuropsychological assessment, that has recently been published in Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology – the full text can be read here.

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Alzheimer Europe report about diversity and inclusive research


Recently, Alzheimer Europe published an interesting report on diversity and inclusive dementia research. The paragraphs on ethical challenges linked to recruitment and informed consent are an especially interesting read. It provides recommendations not only for researchers, but also for research ethics committees and funders. It can be downloaded here.

Systematic review cross-cultural neuropsychological tests


After presenting the results of my systematic review of neuropsychological tests for the assessment of dementia in non-Western, low-educated or illiterate populations at the FESN conference in Milan, it is now also available online! We discovered that executive functioning and language tests should receive more attention from researchers and traditional paper-and-pencil tests of attention and visuoconstruction should be avoided. You can now read the review here!

Cross-cultural assessment of memory


In our recent study, we found that photographs are more suitable to assess memory in low educated, non-Western immigrant patients than black and white line drawings. The use of tests with black-and-white line drawings may lead to an underestimation of actual memory performance in these patients. Read the full article here: https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/501151

Executive functioning & ecological validity


At the annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, prof. Yana Suchy gave an interesting workshop about the assessment of executive functions. In my opinion, the most remarkable part of her workshop was her elaboration on the concept of ecological validity with regard to the assessment of executive functioning. She mentioned two different aspects that are relevant to ecological validity: veridicality (whether the test can predict outcomes in daily life) and verisimilitude (whether the test’s demands correspond to the demands of activities in daily life). She described how it isn’t always necessary to develop an executive functioning test that resembles the activities of daily life at first glance. An example she mentioned to support this claim is how the often-used Trail Making Test is a good predictor of driving abilities, even though the procedures of driving a car and completing a Trail Making Test seem quite dissimilar. Furthermore, dr. Suchy’s Push-Turn-Taptap test – a test that mildly resembles the tests used in lab research with mice – was equally able to predict medication adherence as the Pillbox Test, a test specifically designed to mimic daily life. Interesting perspective!

Dementia diagnostics in immigrants in Belgium, the Netherlands and Morocco


On Thursday 8 November I was a speaker at the Divers Elderly Care (DEC) evening symposium about the way we diagnose dementia in diverse elderly people in the Netherlands. Kurt Seghers from Brussels (Belgium) informed the audience about the current status in Belgium and Maria Benabdeljlil from Rabat (Morocco) revealed some of the recent developments in Morocco.

There are very rapid developments with regard to neuropsychology in Morocco, both in the proper professional training necessary to become a neuropsychologist and the tools that neuropsychologists in Morocco will require to assess dementia in the Moroccan context. All sorts of tests are currently being translated, adapted and validated in Moroccan populations. Prof. Benabdeljlil has, for example, looked into the use of the Trail Making Test and the Moroccan Version of the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (click here for these publications) in her research. It’s great to see the enthusiasm of our Moroccan colleagues and I hope we will be able to collaborate on projects for people (originally) from Morocco in the future!

For Dutch people, a full report about the evening was published online, read it here!

Recruiting minorities for research: new qualitative research from Belgium


Interesting qualitative research from our colleagues in Brussels, Belgium. Saloua Berdai-Chaouni, Ann Claeys and Liesbeth De Donder have examined the best strategies to recruit diverse elderly in research. Important aspects are investing in 1) an enduring relationship 2) in the collaboration with key people in the community 3) the use of qualitative research methods and 4) using transparant communication methods. Both matching researchers and participant by their cultural background and being aware of your own societal position are mentioned as other important aspects. Read the full article here.