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The NUCOG is a cognitive screening tool first developed in the Neuropsychiatry Unit in 2000. It is a pen-and-paper cognitive screening tool that combines a thorough coverage of major cognitive domains (attention, memory, language, executive and visuospatial function) with relative brevity and ease of use.
Validated in a wide variety of psychiatric, neurologic and general medical populations, NUCOG provides a multidimensional profile of an individual's cognitive status. When integrated with a clinical assessment, this can greatly assist in the diagnosis and management of cognitive disorders and serve as a guide to more in-depth formal neuropsychological testing.

NUCOG can be used and administered by psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, medical practitioners and other allied health practitioners. It is in widespread use throughout Australia, particularly in psychiatric and neurological settings. It is published in a paper format by ACER Press Ltd and can be accessed at this link.

NUCOG consists of:

  • NUCOG Manual, which includes essential information such as the purpose of the tool, development, administration instructions, scoring and guidelines for interpretation as well as research data.
  • NUCOG Interview Schedule, which enables testers to be able to administer the test, score items and take notes. A cognitive profile is also included to provide a quick, graphic representation of test scores.
  • NUCOG Subject Completion Sheet, which includes some writing or drawing activities for the patient.

Why use the NUCOG? The NUCOG provides multidimensional scoring, covers areas of cognitive function that other tools neglect (executive functioning, spatial memory), is portable and straightforward to use with minimal training. The NUCOG is suitable for use in general medical, neurological, psychiatric and geriatric settings.
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The NUCOG is now available in a stand-alone format on the iPad. The current version of the NUCOG replaces the need for pencil and paper testing, with subjects able to write directly on the iPad's screen in spatial and written tasks.

Find out more about the iPad NUCOG here, or press the button below to order it directly from iTunes:

The original NUCOG validation paper examined 265 patients with dementia, psychiatric and neurological disorders, and 82 controls.The NUCOG demonstrated high levels of reliability and face validity in this study, which was performed on an unselected cohort of patients from the Neuropsychiatry Unit. It demonstrated a superior capacity to differentiate dementia patients from controls, and to differentiate dementia subgroups, when compared to the MMSE.
The ROC curve for the NUCOG, showing its performance at separating dementia patients from non-dementia individuals at cut-off scores of 80 and 83.

The original NUCOG validation paper examined a mixed population of patients with a range of psychiatric disorders, neurological disorders, and dementia. Since this time, it has shown its validity in a number of populations.

In epilepsy, we showed that NUCOG scores correlated strongly with performance on neuropsychological testing, and that patients with temporal lobe epilepsy performed more poorly on the memory sub scale than other epilepsy patients. This paper can be found here.

Walterfang et al. Utility and validity of a brief cognitive assessment tool in patients with epileptic and non-epileptic seizures. Epilepsy Behav 21: 177-183, 2011.

In a dementia neuroimaging analysis, we showed that patients with Alzheimer's disease scored consistently lower than patients with frontotemporal dementia in the NUCOG's memory and language sub scales. This paper can be found here.

Looi et al. Differential putaminal morphology in Huntington's disease, frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Aust NZ J Psychiatry 46: 1145-1158, 2012.

In Niemann-Pick type C disease we showed that hippocampal volume correlated with NUCOG memory scores. This paper can be found here. We have also shown that NUCOG scores correlate with ocular-motor biomarkers in this disorder, in this paper.

Walterfang et al. Subcortical volumetric reductions in adult Niemann-Pick type C: a cross-sectional study. Am J Neuroradiol, in press.

Abel et al. Saccadic eye movement characteristics in adult Niemann-Pick type C disease: relationships with disease severity and brain structural measures. PLoS One 7: e50947.

The NUCOG has also been used in illness-characterising publications in neurogenetic disorders, including Fabry disease and adrenomyeloneuropathy.
NUCOG Subscales
NUCOG scoring profiles across different epilepsy subtypes: epileptiform seizures, psychogenic non-epileptiform seizures, other non-epileptiform seizures, and a mixed seizure group.

If so - please contact us! We are always interested in working with teams or units on NUCOG studies.
Current projects underway include: validation of the Mandarin NUCOG in a large Chinese epilepsy population; use of the NUCOG in multiple sclerosis; use of the NUCOG in individuals with alcohol dependence.