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Multidimensional measures of person knowledge and spatial associative learning: can these be applied to the differentiation of Alzheimer's disease from frontotemporal and vascular dementia?
CLAGUE, F., Dudas, R.B., Thompson, S.A., GRAHAM, K.S. & HODGES, J.R.
Neuropsychologia , 43(9), 1338-1350
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Patients with early stage Alzheimerís disease (AD) show deficits in person knowledge and spatial associative memory. The current investigation examined the ability of impairment in these domains to differentiate AD from other overlapping conditions. In experiment one, 14 AD patients, 21 vascular dementia (VaD) patients, 11 frontal variant frontotemporal (fvFTD) dementia patients and 41 controls were administered a Graded Faces Test. VaD patients demonstrated a level of impairment comparable to the AD group on both the naming and person identification elements of the task. A mild naming deficit was revealed in the fvFTD group. In Experiment 2, 22 AD patients, 23 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 11 fvFTD patients, 13 semantic dementia (SD) patients, and 23 elderly controls were administered the Face-Place Test, a newly developed task that combines naming of famous faces, item recognition and spatial location. The naming component of the Face-Place Test clearly differentiated SD patients from all dementia groups. All patient groups, except those with fvFTD, showed substantial deficits in the item recognition and spatial components. Consistency analyses indicated a fairly robust association between the two episodic components (item recognition and placing), but not between semantic and episodic elements of the FPT. Person knowledge deficits are, therefore, not specific to AD and the employment of face stimuli may influence the performance of SD patients on tasks of episodic memory.