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Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury
the McCarthy memory scale integrates performance on a much wider variety of memory skills than does either the short- or long-delay free-recall trials of the California Verbal Learning Test. Scores on some of the 18 specific subscales of the McCarthy test might offer greater comparability with the key end points of the California Verbal Learning Test assessed in the Faroe study. Each of the 18 subscales is quite brief, however, and thus less psychometrically sound than the richer California Verbal Learning Test, which assesses only one domain of function but does that in considerable depth.
Similarly, although the Boston Naming Test, which was included in the Faroe Islands test battery, and the preschool language scale and the verbal scale of the McCarthy verbal scale which were included in the SCDS 66-month test battery of the SCDS can be considered tests of language skills, the specific skills they assess are quite different. The Boston Naming Test specifically assesses confrontational naming skills, consisting of line drawings of common objects that a child has to name under time pressure (20 seconds). If the child cannot retrieve the correct name spontaneously, semantic and then phonemic cues are provided. In contrast, the total score on the preschool language scale (PLS) integrates a child's performance on the auditory comprehension and expressive communication subscales, both of which assess a broad range of language skills (eg., comprehension and production of vocabulary; concepts of quantity, quality, space, and time; morphology; syntax; and inference drawing). Like the total score on the PLS, the total score on the McCarthy verbal scale integrates a child' s performance across many language-relevant domains in the following tests: pictorial memory (same as test described for memory scale), word knowledge (pointing to the picture of an object named by the examiner, providing the name for four pictured objects, and providing word definitions), verbal memory (same as test described for memory scale ), verbal fluency (generating words in 20-sec trials to fit specific semantic constraints, such as things to eat or animals), and opposite analogies (providing antonyms). Thus, although the four items of the word-knowledge test that assess naming could be isolated and considered an index of confrontational naming, similar to the Boston Naming Test, the four items are unlikely to possess the same sensitivity insofar as the latter test consists of 60 items.
Thus, although the Faroe Islands and SCDS test batteries include tests of language and memory, it is not appropriate to view the end points