This morning I gave blood and completed the neuropsychological testing for the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP). Nicole Wright, Research Specialist with the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, met me at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. She introduced me to Sue, a nurse who recorded my vital statistics and drew blood. My blood will be used for genetic testing, and to record levels of substances such as cholesterol that may affect my risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Nurse Sue draws my blood
Then it was off for two and a half hours of neuropsychological testing administered by Nicole. Here's a list of the tests I took:
- Clock Drawing
- Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence
- Boston Naming Test (language and verbal skills)
- Controlled Oral Word Frequency (lexical fluency)
- Wide Range Achievement Test (sub-test of Reading Test)
- Judgment of Line Orientation (visuo-spatial skills and spatial orientation)
- WASI block design sub-test (perceptual-constructional ability)
- WASI Matrix Reasoning (non-verbal abstract reasoning)
- Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
- Faces I and II from the Wechsler Memory Scale - III (recognition of unfamiliar faces)
- Wisconsin Card Sort - 64 (working memory and executive abilities - novel problem solving)
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - III, Working Memory Sub-tests
- Stroop Color Word Test (response inhibition)
- Trail Making Test A and B (psychomotor speed and mental flexibility)
As Nicole predicted, some tests were easy, but others seemed difficult to impossible. I didn't feel stressed during the testing - it probably helped that we took two breaks. The experience on each test is probably different for every participant, but what's important is how your abilities change over time, not your absolute scores.
These tests will be my baseline tests, and I'll be back to take them again every four or five years. I won't know the results of my blood tests or neuropsychological tests (at least as long as WRAP is ongoing), but at least I feel I'm contributing to the effort to find Alzheimer's treatments.
If you're interested in participating in WRAP, you can contact the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute at +1 608-829-3306 or 1-800-417-4169. You can also email Janet Rowley at email@example.com.