Nav: Home

Naturalistic driving study investigates self-regulation behavior in early Alzheimer's disease

July 26, 2018

Lyon, France - July 26, 2018: Driving is a complex task that involves perceptual, motor and cognitive abilities. These abilities may be affected in early Alzheimer Disease (AD) patients. Nevertheless, they continue to drive for more years than people with other dementia syndromes perhaps because of a deficit in self-awareness that prevents them from perceiving their driving difficulties and adapting accordingly. The purpose of the present pilot study was to closely examine the self-regulation behavior of older individuals with AD using a naturalistic driving approach.

In order to explore AD and healthy older drivers, a video recording device was placed behind the rear-view mirror of each driver's vehicle. Twenty patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease and twenty-one healthy older adults were included in the study. Two expert psychologists assessed driving performance using a specially designed Naturalistic Driving Assessment Scale (NaDAS), paying particular attention to self-regulation behavior (capacity to adapt driving speed, respect safe distances, change lanes correctly, and appropriately anticipate or plan actions. All critical safety events (accident, near-accident, incident) were also recorded.

The results showed that self-regulation behavior was poorer in AD patients than in healthy older drivers. Lower self-regulation reflects a reduced capacity to adapt driving speed, ensure safe distances, change lanes, and appropriately anticipate or plan actions. Moreover, AD patients experienced twice as many critical events as healthy older drivers. Several naturalistic driving studies have demonstrated that the number of critical events is associated with accident risk. Interestingly, two thirds of critical events were considered "unaware" events, which means the driver was observed to have no clear reaction during the critical event. AD patients who exhibited the worst self-regulation had the most critical events. This relationship between a high number of critical events and poorer self-regulation behavior has not been demonstrated previously.

One limitation of this study is the sample size. However, studies of naturalistic driving generally have low numbers of participants. Moreover, researchers took into account and analyzed the full recordings of each participant, unlike many prior studies that only analyzed samples from recordings. Investigators could have used an automated analysis method, such as those used in recent naturalistic driving studies that actively used objective outcomes that are not reliant upon raters. However, since automatic detection is performed based on behavioral responses and facial expressions, numerous critical events, especially unaware critical events, for which no behavioral reaction is visible, could go unnoticed.

Future deployment of assistance systems in vehicles should specifically target tactical components in order to help drivers suffering from cognitive deficits. It would be interesting to study how these systems are perceived by older drivers. Test systems could be integrated by manufacturers into driving simulators.
-end-


IOS Press

Related Cognitive Abilities Articles:

Brain networks more stable in individuals with higher cognitive abilities
Brain imaging study investigates why cognitive abilities differ between individuals.
Biologically-inspired skin improves robots' sensory abilities
Sensitive synthetic skin enables robots to sense their own bodies and surroundings - a crucial capability if they are to be in close contact with people.
Poor fit between job demands, reasoning abilities associated with health conditions
Older workers whose reasoning abilities no longer allow them to meet the demands of their jobs may be more likely to develop chronic health conditions and retire early, which may not be ideal for the employee or employer, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
Exposure to air pollution before and after birth may affect fundamental cognitive abilities
A study finds that exposure to fine particulate matter in the first years of life is associated with poorer performance in working memory and executive attention.
Cognitive enhancers to boost abilities at work considered acceptable by the public
The general public largely views the use of cognitive enhancers such as Adderall as an acceptable practice when used by adults in the workplace, suggests a new study from Penn Medicine neurologists, which published this week in AJOB Neuroscience.
Research underscores value of cognitive training for adults with mild cognitive impairment
Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth®, part of The University of Texas at Dallas, combined two non-pharmacological interventions for adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): eight sessions of Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training (SMART), a cognitive training program shown to improve reasoning and ability to extract bottom-line messages from complex information; and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) over the left frontal region, associated with cognitive control and memory recovery success in people with Alzheimer's.
Nanomaterials give plants 'super' abilities (video)
Science-fiction writers have long envisioned human-machine hybrids that wield extraordinary powers.
Free patient case management tool accurately measures physicians' diagnostic abilities
Assessing the accuracy and value of an increasingly popular and free online patient management app, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and other institutions say that physicians with more training and experience perform better in selecting appropriate diagnoses for sample patient scenarios.
Inflammation: Study explains loss of protective abilities of T cells
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) make sure that immune responses are not too strong and that inflammation is inhibited.
Study confirms beaked whales' incredible diving abilities
A Duke-led study provides the first record of the diving behavior of Cuvier's beaked whales in US Atlantic waters.
More Cognitive Abilities News and Cognitive Abilities Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.