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value and utility of measuring cognitive function in the development

t his paper reviews the value and utility of measuring cognitive function in the development of new medicines by reference to the most widely used automated system in clinical research. Evidence is presented from phase 1 to 3 of the nature and quality of the information that can be obtained by applying the Cognitive Drug Research computerized assessment system to ongoing clinical trials. Valuable evidence can be obtained even in the first trial in which a novel compound is administered to man. One application of such testing is to ensure that novel compounds are relatively free from cognition-impairing properties, particularly in relation to competitor products. Another is to ensure that unwanted interactions with alcohol and other medications do not occur, or, if they do, to put them in context. In many patient populations, cognitive dysfunction occurs as a result of the disease process, and newer medicines which can treat the symptoms of the disease without further impairing function can often reveal benefits as the disease-induced cognitive dysfunction is reduced. Another major application is to identify benefits for compounds designed to enhance cognitive function. Such effects can be sought in typical phase 1 trials, or a scopolamine model of the core deficits of Alzheimer’s disease can be used to screen potential antidernentia drugs. Ultimately, of course, such effects can be demonstrated using properly validated and highly sensitive auto