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Dement Geriatr Cogn Dis Extra. 2011 Jan;1(1):51-61. doi: 10.1159/000323864. Epub 2011 Jan 22.

Impairment in proverb interpretation as an executive function deficit in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and early Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.



Proverb interpretation is assumed to reflect executive functions. We hypothesized that proverb interpretation is impaired in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) diagnosed as single-domain impairment by common neuropsychological testing.


We compared performance in a proverb interpretation test in single-domain aMCI patients and patients with early Alzheimer's disease (EAD).


The groups with aMCI and EAD performed significantly worse than healthy controls. Both patient groups gave concrete answers with a similar frequency. However, patients with EAD tended to give senseless answers more frequently.


Our data suggest that in patients diagnosed as single-domain aMCI, deterioration of executive functions is detectable with subtle and appropriate neuropsychological testing. Implementation of these procedures may improve the early prediction of AD.


Amnestic mild cognitive impairment; Concrete thinking; Early Alzheimer's disease; Executive dysfunction; Neuropsychological testing; Non-literal language

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