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Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2019 Jan 24;11:108-114. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2018.12.002. eCollection 2019 Dec.

Quantifying memory deficits in amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

Author information

Neuropsychology and Cognition Research Group, Research Institute on Health Sciences and Balearic Health Research Institute and IdISBa, Palma, Spain.
Department of Psychology, University of the Balearic Islands, Palma, Spain.
Valencia University Clinic Hospital, Valencia, Spain.
Dr Peset University Hospital, Valencia, Spain.
Department of Physiotherapy and Infirmary, University of the Balearic Islands, Palma, Spain.
Cognitive Neurology Unit, Son Espases University Hospital, Palma, Spain.



In the present study, we use the item-specific deficit approach (ISDA), a method for characterizing memory deficits in list-learning, to portray the memory deficits in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI).


We applied the ISDA to compare memory performance of patients with aMCI and healthy controls in encoding, consolidation, and retrieval using the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test.


The results revealed clear differences in recall performance between patients with aMCI and controls. When analyzing the ISDA deficit indices, the results revealed a prominent encoding deficit, followed by a consolidating deficit. A greater sensitivity for the encoding index confirmed that a difficulty with encoding information plays a major role in explaining the episodic memory deficits experienced by patients with aMCI.


The present study applying the ISDA reveals great sensitivity and specificity of the encoding deficit index when identifying aMCI. As aMCI constitutes a risk factor to develop Alzheimer's disease, the current findings also confirm the need to concentrate on encoding deficits as an early diagnostic sign of cognitive decline.


Encoding deficit; Episodic memory; ISDA method; Neuropsychology; aMCI

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