Reproducibility of task activation using the Addenbrooke's cognitive examination in healthy controls: A functional Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography study

Introduction Cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFv) changes occurring with cognitive stimulation can be measured by Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (TCD). The aim of this study was to assess the reproducibility of CBFv changes to the Addenbrooke's cognitive examination (ACE-III). New method 13 volunteers underwent bilateral TCD (middle cerebral artery), continuous heart rate (HR, 3-lead ECG, Finometer), beat-to-beat mean arterial pressure (MAP, Finometer), and end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2, capnography). After 5 min baseline, all ACE-III tasks were performed in 3 domains (A/B/C). Data presented are population CBFv peak normalised changes and area under the curve (AUC). Statistical analysis was by 2-way repeated measures (ANOVA), intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC), standard error of measurement (SEM) and coefficient of variation (CV). Results 12 bilateral data sets were obtained (10 right hand dominant, 6 female). Baseline parameters (MAP, HR, ETCO2) did not differ between visits. All tasks increased CBFv. Only domain A on AUC analysis differed significantly on ANOVA, and one task on post hoc testing (p < 0.05). ICC values were poor (<0.4) for most tasks, but 3 tasks produced more consistent results on AUC and peak CBFv analysis (range ICC: 0.15–0.73, peak CV: 16.2–56.1(%), AUC CV: 23.2–60.2(%), peak SEM: 2.5–6.0 (%), AUC SEM: 21.8–135.8 (%*s). Comparison with existing methods This is the first study to examine reproducibility of CBFv changes to a complete cognitive assessment tool. Conclusions Reproducibility of CBFv measurements to the ACE-III was variable. AUC may provide more reliable estimates than peak CBFv responses. These data need validating in patient populations.