Research Article  |   January 2016
Simulator Measures and Identification of Older Drivers With Mild Cognitive Impairment
Author Affiliations
  • Sophia Vardaki, PhD, is Senior Researcher, Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece; sophiav@central.ntua.gr
  • Anne E. Dickerson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • Ion Beratis, MSc, PhD, is Neuropsychologist, 2nd Department of Neurology, Attikon General University Hospital, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • George Yannis, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • Sokratis G. Papageorgiou, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurology, Attikon General University Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Article Information
Community Mobility and Driving / Productive Aging
Research Article   |   January 2016
Simulator Measures and Identification of Older Drivers With Mild Cognitive Impairment
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2016, Vol. 70, 7002270030p1-7002270030p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.017673
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2016, Vol. 70, 7002270030p1-7002270030p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.017673
Abstract

This study examined whether a sign recall task on a driving simulator, self-report of driving ability, or age predicted differences in performance between drivers with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and control participants. For the dependent measure, gathered using a driving simulator, working memory was subjected to interference at varying levels of driving task demands. Reliable between-groups differences in sign recall accuracy were demonstrated; recall declined under higher task demands. Recall scores, self-reported frequency of avoiding driving, and driver age did not predict MCI; only self-reported decline in global driving ability was significant. Findings support the use of driving simulators in practice and suggest that screening for age-related cognitive impairment should incorporate self-reported changes in driving proficiency for early identification of drivers who merit medical review. The results, although exploratory, have implications for practitioners.