Attention, impulse control, memory or the ability to adapt to new situations are processes that are affected in the presence of pathologies or transitory situations. Measuring them objectively allows to decide more precisely what type of training or rehabilitation will be convenient to carry out.
Two different Continuous Performance Tests (CPT) are carried out including dual execution tasks. The evaluator visualizes on the screen of his computer in real time the same thing that the subject can see through the glasses that, in addition, are equipped with sensors to register the movement during the test.
In the tasks the stimuli presented are the same -fish or names referring to them-, although the target stimulus changes. The choice of these stimuli responds to the need for a free test of cultural biases and literacy problems. Neutral stimuli are chosen which are presented at the beginning of the test and with the first training it is intended that the evaluated person learns and assimilates them in order to perform the test correctly.
In the tests there are different paradigms regarding the presentation of the target stimulus: on the one hand, during the learning task, the person must respond whenever the target stimulus is preceded by another, for example “press each time you see the number five preceded by the letter A -paradigma AX-. On the other hand, in the two tasks of dual execution, the subject has to respond to everything except when a certain stimulus appears -paradigma Xno-.
The subject is transferred to a 360º aquarium, under the premise that it is their first day at work there and they will have to control the fish tanks. The test is carried out in this virtual scenario where the person must press a button when he sees or hears certain fish or certain words, depending on the instruction. During the test several distractors of the aquarium are presented (visitors walking, announcements by public address system, etc.).
The aim of the normative study of Nesplora Aquarium was to identify the different groups existing in the sample based on the scores obtained in the execution of said test, while establishing the normality curve for each one of them. To carry out this normative study, the data of 903 subjects were initially analyzed. With the obtained data an analysis of variance was carried out, that showed that there were three age groups: from 16 to 40 years old, from 41 to 60 years old and over 60 years old; depending on the differences found between their scores. Subsequently, it was found that “intragroup” there were no statistically significant differences in the different variables depending on age and there were differences between the three groups. Significant differences were also found within each age group according to sex. So each age group has two different scales for men and women. Currently, the total sample has 1469 people.
Depending on the groups (psychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, etc.), potential users of the tests, the results were measured on percentile scales and T scores. In order to facilitate the interpretation and comparison of results, it was decided that T Scores were normalized even though most of the variables do not follow a normal distribution.
The Nesplora Aquarium test presents certain special characteristics that, in some aspects, bring it closer to an “adaptive” type test, since the presentation time between stimuli, the appearance of distractors, their frequency, etc. they depend on the sequence of responses given by the person. In many aspects it could be said that the subject, in fact, may be responding to a “different” test. This, which considerably improves the ecological validity of the test and its real efficiency, makes it difficult, however, to estimate the reliability of all the measured measurements, at least in what is traditionally understood as the reliability coefficient of a test. This is the reason why it is only possible to estimate classical reliability in the scales shown below. However, if these are reliable, in turn, they also guarantee the reliability of the other aspects considered.
These disorders are increasingly common in our society and high levels of anxiety or depression are often accompanied by cognitive alterations in various domains, including care. In both conditions, a deterioration in sustained attention is observed. In addition, in cases of depression there is also a slowing down of information processing. In contrast, in anxiety disorders, working memory is also compromised. Nesplora Aquarium allows you to track your cognitive status and observe changes in the cognitive profile of the person evaluated.
Two thirds of children with ADHD continue to suffer from this disorder during adulthood. This has a negative impact on important areas that surround the person, such as the work environment, social relationships, family environment, etc. Nesplora Aquarium is a very useful tool when carrying out or complementing the diagnosis of ADHD in adults and adolescents older than 16 years in an ecological scenario, providing objective and reliable data.
Selective attention, cognitive inflexibility, impulsivity or excessive self-control are, for example, some of the variables that Aquarium measures committed in the presence of disorders related to eating behavior. To evaluate these variables will be of great help at the time of proposing a treatment tailored to each patient.
Bipolar disorder is another disease characterized by its symptoms on an emotional level. Nevertheless, the repercussions that it shows at a cognitive level are clear with respect to certain components, among which are sustained attention and working memory. The ability to inhibit responses is also altered. Nesplora Aquarium provides information on the attentional profile of people with bipolar disorder, facilitating their follow-up, since a correct cognitive functioning directly influences the autonomy and quality of life of patients.
People suffering from a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia suffer, together with the characteristic symptoms of this pathology, a global neuropsychological deterioration in which the most striking findings belong to the attention deficit from the initial stages of the disease. Sustained and selective attention, working memory, processing speed and cognitive flexibility are often altered frequently. Nesplora Aquarium evaluates the cognitive profile of these people so that, once stability is achieved with respect to positive symptoms, we can intervene in these cognitive processes to promote the autonomy and well-being of these people.
The life quality of people suffering from brain damage is highly impaired and it is vital to know in depth what their cognitive status is at each moment, to intervene in the most appropriate way. The alterations manifested after a brain injury can be very varied, those observed at attention level being the most common. In particular, sustained attention, working memory and processing speed, are the functions that are usually observed to be altered, as well as difficulty to work with different stimuli simultaneously. Nesplora Aquarium allows to monitor the rehabilitation carried out and quantitatively record the evolution of the person.
Several neurodegenerative diseases show deficits at the attention level. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis or other less common diseases such as Wilson’s disease may present alterations in attention, work memory, cost of task change, etc. Hence the utility of Nesplora Aquarium when evaluating these cognitive profile elements of people with different neurodegenerative disorders, since it allows to deepen the cognitive profile of each patient to be able to monitor their condition and even monitor treatments or interventions that can be applied.
The cases of MCI or initial phases of dementia, would present in Nesplora Aquarium a low performance in the reaction time, in the working memory, in the cost of change of task or in perseverations. In addition, different cognitive profiles have been observed depending on the type of dementia: cortical, subcortical, etc. Deficits in attention and working memory are good predictors of the conversion of MCI to Alzheimer’s.
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