Alzheimer's disease patients' cognitive status and course years prior to symptom recognition

Jane H. Cerhan, Robert J. Ivnik, Glenn E. Smith, Mary M. Machulda, Bradley F. Boeve, David S. Knopman, Ronald C. Petersen, Eric G. Tangalos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This is a prospective examination of the cognitive performance and cognitive course of persons in an asymptomatic "preclinical" phase who eventually developed Alzheimer's disease (AD). We compared performances on the Mayo Cognitive Factor Scales (MCFS) of 20 persons in a neurologically normal cohort who subsequently developed AD to the performances of 60 persons who remained free of dementia symptoms. For the AD patients, exams occurred prior to the appearance of dementia symptoms (an average of 4.2 and 1.5 years prior to symptom onset). Results reveal strong group differences on learning and retention, with eventual AD patients scoring lower than controls years prior to reporting symptoms of the disease. There was no significant interaction effect (group x testing session) for memory retention, suggesting that memory decline in this preclinical period may be too slow to be a useful indicator of future AD. A significant interaction (but no group effect) was seen for verbal comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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