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Telephone-based Frontal Assessment Battery (t-FAB): standardization for the Italian population and clinical usability in neurological diseases

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2022 Jun 14. doi: 10.1007/s40520-022-02155-3. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Despite the relevance of telephone-based cognitive screening tests in clinical practice and research, no specific test assessing executive functioning is available. The present study aimed at standardizing and providing evidence of clinical usability for the Italian telephone-based Frontal Assessment Battery (t-FAB).

METHODS: The t-FAB (ranging 0-12), comprising two subtests, has two versions: one requiring motor responses (t-FAB-M) and the other verbal responses (t-FAB-V). Three hundred and forty-six Italian healthy adults (HPs; 143 males; age range = 18-96 years; education range = 4-23 years) and 40 participants with neurological diseases were recruited. To HPs, the t-FAB was administered along with a set of telephone-based tests: MMSE, verbal fluency (VF), backward digit span (BDS). The in-person version of the FAB was administered to both HPs and clinical groups. Factorial structure, construct validity, inter-rater and test-retest reliability, t-FAB-M vs. t-FAB-V equivalence and diagnostic accuracy were assessed. Norms were derived via Equivalent Scores.

RESULTS: In HPs, t-FAB measures yielded high inter-rater/test-retest reliability (ICC = .78-.94), were internally related (p ≤ .005) and underpinned by a single component, converging with the telephone-based MMSE, VF, BDS (p ≤ .0013). The two t-FAB versions were statistically equivalent in clinical groups (ps of both equivalence bounds < .001). Education predicted all t-FAB scores (p < .001), whereas age only the t-FAB-M score (p ≤ .004). t-FAB scores converge with the in-person FAB in HPs and clinical groups (rs = .43-.78). Both t-FAB versions were accurate in discriminating HPs from the clinical cohort (AUC = .73-.76).

DISCUSSION: The t-FAB is a normed, valid, reliable and clinically usable telephone-based cognitive screening test to adopt in both clinical and research practice.

PMID:35699839 | DOI:10.1007/s40520-022-02155-3

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