Cognitive Function in Low-Income and Low-Literacy Settings: Validation of the Tablet-Based Oxford Cognitive Screen in the Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI)

Citation:

Glyn W. Humphreys, Mihaela D. Duta, Livia Montana, Nele Demeyere, Cathal McCrory, Julia Rohr, Kathleen Kahn, Stephen Tollman, and Lisa Berkman. 2016. “Cognitive Function in Low-Income and Low-Literacy Settings: Validation of the Tablet-Based Oxford Cognitive Screen in the Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI).” The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.

Abstract:

Objectives: 1. Assess validity of the Oxford Cognitive Screen (OCS-Plus), a domain-specific cognitive assessment designed for low-literacy settings, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC); 2. Advance theoretical contributions in cognitive neuroscience in domain-specific cognitive function and cognitive reserve, especially related to dementia.Method: In a cross-sectional study of a sample of 1,402 men and women aged 40–79 in the Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI), we administered OCS-Plus along with health and sociodemographic assessments. HAALSI is a representative sample of older adults in Agincourt, South Africa contributing to normative understanding of cognition in LMIC. We report measure distributions, construct and external validity of the OCS-Plus.Results: OCS-Plus has excellent construct and external validity. Intra-class correlations between similar basic measures of orientation in OCS-Plus and in HAALSI assessments was 0.79, and groups of people performing well on the OCS-Plus verbal memory also showed superior performance on HAALSI verbal memory. The OCS-Plus scores showed consistent associations with age and education and domain-specific associations with alcohol and depression. Younger respondents and the more educated did better on all assessments.Discussion: The OCS-Plus represents a major methodological advance in dementia studies in LMICs, and enhances understanding of cognitive aging.