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Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment Show Lower Visual Short-Term Memory Performance in Feature Binding Tasks

20 Mar 2017

Background: Early cognitive changes in people at risk of developing dementia may be detected using behavioral tests that examine the performance of typically affected brain areas, such as the hippocampi. An important cognitive function supported by the hippocampi is memory binding, in which object features are associated to create a unified percept. Aim: To compare visual short-term memory (VSTM) binding performance for object names, locations, and identities between a participant group known to be at higher risk of developing dementia (mild cognitive impairment [MCI]) and healthily aging controls. Methods: Ten MCI and 10 control participants completed five VSTM tests that differed in their requirement of remembering bound or unbound object names, locations, and identities, along with a standard neuropsychological test (Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination [ACE]-III). Results: The performance of the MCI participants was selectively and significantly lower than that of the healthily aging controls for memory tasks that required object-location or name-location binding. Conclusion: Tasks that measure unimodal (object-location) and crossmodal (name-location) binding performance appear to be particularly effective for the detection of early cognitive changes in those at higher risk of developing dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord Extra

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders Extra