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Awareness in early stage Alzheimer's disease: relationship to outcome of cognitive rehabilitation
Clare, L., WILSON, B.A., Carter, G., Roth, L., and HODGES, J
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 26(2), 215-226
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Awareness of difficulties may have an important impact on functioning and response to intervention in early-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD). Clinical reports and retrospective studies suggest an association, but this has not previously been tested in a prospective study. Using a new measure of awareness, the Memory Awareness Rating Scale (MARS), which was designed to take account of methodological limitations identified in a review of previous studies, the present study explored the relationship between awareness of difficulties and outcome of a cognitive rehabilitation (CR) intervention in 12 participants with a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer's disease. The relationship between awareness and mood, behaviour and executive function was also assessed. The results provide the first demonstration in a prospective study that higher levels of awareness are related to better CR outcomes. Awareness was associated with depression and reported behaviour problems, but not with performance on tests of executive function. These results suggest that variations in level of awareness in early-stage AD are influenced by psychological factors, and that explanatory models need to take these factors into account. Awareness of difficulties may serve as a useful predictor of the likely effectiveness of CR, and this may assist clinicians in selecting appropriate interventions for individuals with early-stage AD.