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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Specific Features of Executive Dysfunction in Alzheimer-Type Mild Dementia Based on Computerized Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) Test Results

Jurgita Kuzmickienė, Gintaras Kaubrys

Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Center for Neurology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, 0, Lithuania

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:3605-3613

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.900992

Available online: 2016-10-08

Published: 2016-10-08


BACKGROUND: The primary manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is decline in memory. Dysexecutive symptoms have tremendous impact on functional activities and quality of life. Data regarding frontal-executive dysfunction in mild AD are controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the presence and specific features of executive dysfunction in mild AD based on Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) results.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Fifty newly diagnosed, treatment-naïve, mild, late-onset AD patients (MMSE ≥20, AD group) and 25 control subjects (CG group) were recruited in this prospective, cross-sectional study. The CANTAB tests CRT, SOC, PAL, SWM were used for in-depth cognitive assessment. Comparisons were performed using the t test or Mann-Whitney U test, as appropriate. Correlations were evaluated by Pearson r or Spearman R. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.
RESULTS: AD and CG groups did not differ according to age, education, gender, or depression. Few differences were found between groups in the SOC test for performance measures: Mean moves (minimum 3 moves): AD (Rank Sum=2227), CG (Rank Sum=623), p<0.001. However, all SOC test time measures differed significantly between groups: SOC Mean subsequent thinking time (4 moves): AD (Rank Sum=2406), CG (Rank Sum=444), p<0.001. Correlations were weak between executive function (SOC) and episodic/working memory (PAL, SWM) (R=0.01–0.38) or attention/psychomotor speed (CRT) (R=0.02–0.37).
CONCLUSIONS: Frontal-executive functions are impaired in mild AD patients. Executive dysfunction is highly prominent in time measures, but minimal in performance measures. Executive disorders do not correlate with a decline in episodic and working memory or psychomotor speed in mild AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer Disease, Cognition, executive function, Frontal Lobe, Memory, Neuropsychological Tests