Visual attention impairments in Alzheimer's disease

Matthew Rizzo, S. W. Anderson, J. Dawson, R. Myers, K. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Impaired attention can hinder information processing at multiple levels and may explain aspects of functional decline in aging and dementia. Impairments of attention in early AD may contribute to performance reductions in other cognitive domains, including memory and executive functions. Method: The authors analyzed the scores on a battery of tests of attention and cognitive abilities in 64 older individuals: 42 with mild AD and 22 control subjects without dementia. The authors tested the hypotheses that patients with AD would have impairments of visual attention, and that these impairments would correlate with dysfunction in other key cognitive domains. Results: Patients with AD performed significantly worse than control subjects on measures of sustained attention, divided attention, selective attention, and visual processing speed. The differences were not due to differences in age, education, or basic visual function. Strong relationships were identified between reduced attention skills and overall cognitive impairment. Conclusions: Deterioration of attention abilities occurs in early stages of AD, and likely contributes to functional decline in these patients. More routine assessment of visual attention deficits could give a more accurate measure of functionally useful perception in patients with AD who show normal visual acuity and visual fields, perhaps providing useful clues to diagnosis and staging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1954-1959
Number of pages6
JournalNeurology
Volume54
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 23 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • AD
  • Speed of processing
  • Visual attention
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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