Neuropsychological variables predicting rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's Disease

C. Marra, M. C. Silveri, A. Polito, G. Gainotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several clinical, social-demographic and neuropsychological variables may predict rate of decline in Alzheimer's disease (AD). As for neuropsychological variables, either linguistic (Kasniak et al., 1978, Boiler et al., 1991; Huff et al., 1987) or non linguistic (Mortimer et al., 1992; Yesavage et al, 1993) parameters have received attention as potential predicting factors of disease progression. Inconsistent results have been yielded by the various authors. However, attentional and visuo-spatial deficits seem of some value in predicting rate of functional decline and the presence of linguistic impairment of some value in predicting rate of cognitive decline. In our study we took into account a large range of neuropsychological variables by submitting 40 AD patients to tests exploring verbal and visual memory function, verbal fluency, deductive and inductive reasoning, visuospatial and attentional abilities. All the patients underwent two subsequent sessions (baseline and follow-up) of neuropsychological examination from ten to fourteen months spaced out. Patients with rate of decline at the Mini Mental State Examination >40% were considered as fast decliners, while AD with a rate of decline <40% were considered as slow decliners. A Principal Component Analysis carried out on the scores obtained at the baseline examination showed that the first factor for predicting faster cognitive decline was associated to lower score in attention-demanding tasks. Our data suggest that impairment of control function predicts a more rapid progression of cognitive deficit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66
Number of pages1
JournalItalian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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