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Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2013;35(5-6):291-9. doi: 10.1159/000347203. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Impaired visual recognition memory predicts Alzheimer's disease in amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

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  • 1Service de Neurologie et Neuropsychologie, APHM, CHU Timone, Marseille, France.



In the common form of Alzheimer's disease (AD), neurofibrillary tangles, which are associated with cognitive dysfunction, initially develop in the anterior subhippocampal (perirhinal/entorhinal) cortex before reaching the hippocampus. This area plays a key role in visual recognition memory (VRM). Impaired VRM could therefore be an early marker of AD.


An extensive neuropsychological assessment including VRM tasks was performed in 26 patients with single-domain amnestic mild cognitive impairment at baseline. We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of neuropsychological tests using ROC curve analyses in a prospective longitudinal study until conversion to probable AD or with a follow-up of at least 6 years.


VRM performance predicted conversion to AD with a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 90.9%. Combining the assessment of VRM with a verbal memory task increased diagnostic accuracy.


Cognitive 'biomarkers' evaluating the function of brain areas that are the target of degenerative change should be considered for the early diagnosis of AD.

Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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