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Neuropsychology. 2003 Apr;17(2):230-9.

Working memory in mild Alzheimer's disease and early Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Clinical Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139, USA.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) impair working memory (WM). It is unclear, however, whether the deficits seen early in the course of these diseases are similar. To address this issue, the authors compared the performance of 22 patients with mild AD, 20 patients with early PD and without dementia, and 112 control participants on tests of inhibition, short-term memory, and 2 commonly administered tests of WM. The results suggest that although mild AD and early PD both impair WM, the deficits may be related to the interruption of different processes that contribute to WM performance. Early PD disrupted inhibitory processes, whereas mild AD did not. The WM deficits seen in patients with AD may be secondary to deficits in other cognitive capacities, including semantic memory.

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