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Vision Res. 2005 Apr;45(8):1013-20. Epub 2004 Dec 2.

Enhanced stimulus contrast normalizes visual processing of rapidly presented letters in Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-7123, USA.


Deficient perception and cognition in Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been attributed to slow information processing and attentional disturbance, but an additional explanation may be reduced signal strength. In 21 individuals with probable AD, 29 healthy older and 54 younger adults, we enhanced the contrast level of rapidly-flashed masked letters. The AD group reached identification criterion (80% accuracy), but required significantly higher contrast than the control groups. A source of the prevalent masking deficit may be reduced signal strength arising from dysfunction of retina or visual cortex. Increasing stimulus contrast may be an effective means of enhancing cognitive performance in AD.

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