Verbal memory decline in Alzheimer’s disease: A multiple-processes deficit

E. Paul Pepin, Paul Eslinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Memory dysfunction is a primary diagnostic criterion and one of the earliest clinical manifestations of dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT). The profile of progression of this memory deficit is assumed to represent a unitary decline. We studied the profile of verbal memory decline using an immediate free recall learning task in 18 DAT patients judged to be at 3 different stages of severity (mildly, moderately, and severely affected), using the serial-position function as the dependent measure. Results showed that the pattern of performance of DAT patients depended upon the severity of the disease. With mild dementia, the U-shaped curve was qualitatively similar to that observed in normals (presence of primacy and recency effects). With increasing severity of dementia, there was a consistent modification of the serial-position function with, in moderately affected subjects, a progression toward a unimodal curve devoid of a primacy effect and, later on, a decrease of the recency effect. These findings suggest that the serial-position function shows dynamic changes across stages of DAT. These dynamic changes may imply distinct disturbances of 2 or more learning-memory processes in this condition. The processes involved presumably reflect the temporal nature of the pathologic involvement of distinct neural systems, both structural and neurochemical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1482
Number of pages6
JournalNeurology
Volume39
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

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Alzheimer Disease
Dementia
Learning
Memory Disorders
Short-Term Memory

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

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Verbal memory decline in Alzheimer’s disease : A multiple-processes deficit. / Pepin, E. Paul; Eslinger, Paul.

In: Neurology, Vol. 39, No. 11, 01.01.1989, p. 1477-1482.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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