Professor Keith A. Wesnes

BSc PhD FSS CPsychol FBPsS

Utility, reliability, sensitivity and validity of an online test system designed to monitor changes in cognitive function in clinical trials

The Platform for Research Online to investigate Genetics and Cognition in Ageing is a 10-year longitudinal and entirely remote study launched in November 2015. The CogTrackTM System is being used to monitor changes in important aspects of cognitive function using tests of attention, information processing and episodic memory. On study entry, the participants performed CogTrackTM up to three times over seven days, and these data are evaluated in this paper.

Keith Wesnes appointed Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Exeter

Wesnes Cognition is delighted to announce that Keith Wesnes has been appointed Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Exeter Medical School where he will be working closely with the new Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Clive Ballard.

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Wesnes Cognition Ltd was established in 2009 to provide a worldwide cognitive testing system for clinical research. More recently the company has developed its own proprietary online cognitive assessment system, CogTrackTM, for worldwide use in research studies and clinical practice. The System has set the standard for sensitivity and reliability in the remote measurement of major aspects of cognitive function, which are relevant to the quality of everyday behaviour; either by definition (e.g. attention span, short-term memory capacity, speed of processing etc) or by being vulnerable to a wide variety of insults from factors such as trauma, stress, drugs, lifestyle choices through to age-related cognitive pathologies, including the dementias.

The company also provides services to the clinical trial and research industry, of identifying, both the relevant domains of cognitive function for assessment, together with the appropriate cognitive tests and test systems. Further services include guidance on experimental design, through to all aspects of data analysis, interpretation, reporting and scientific dissemination.

Since graduating in 1973 with First Class BSc Honours in Experimental Psychology from Reading University, Keith Wesnes has specialised in the automated measurement of cognitive function. His PhD into the cholinergic bases of human attention led him in the early 1970s to automate tests of major aspects of cognition, in order to detect subtle improvements or impairments. In the early 1980s he developed the CDR System, a computerised set of tests to assess cognitive function in clinical trials with volunteers to virtually any clinical population. From 1986 until late 2009 the CDR System was used in research worldwide as a professional scientific service to the clinical trial industry, by his privately held company, Cognitive Drug Research Ltd. For the last 30 years, it has been the most widely used system of its type, for measuring change in cognitive function in clinical research. The company received a variety of international accolades, most notably the UK’s most prestigious recognition, The Queen’s Award for Enterprise - in 2002 for one of the major categories, International Trade, and was the only company to receive a second the following year, this time for the other major category Innovation.  

Keith also holds a number of academic positions:

  • Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Exeter Medical School (since 2016)

  • Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia (since 2007)

  • Visiting Professor at the Medicinal Plant Research Group, Newcastle University, UK (since 2015)

​He has previously held academic positions at Indiana University, Reading University, Guy’s Hospital Medical School, University of East London and Bristol University. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in 1983, a Chartered Psychologist in 1988, and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 1989. He has over 300 peer-reviewed publications and 9 students have received PhDs under his supervision.

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