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Alex Bahar-Fuchs

Early detection of cognitive decline associated with dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT) has become increasingly important as symptomatic and disease modifying treatments become available. Current diagnostic procedures are long and demanding, while briefer procedures do not necessarily rely on known neurocognitive changes in preclinical DAT. The aim of this project was to study the sensitivity of a new screening procedure, based on detection of clock-anomalies and associative memory for arbitrarily related objects. Method. Five early DAT patients and five normal matched controls underwent a Clock-Anomalies Detection Task (CADT), and the Object-Place Association task (OPAT). It was hypothesized that the OPAT, but not the CADT will discriminate the two groups. Results: the patient group performed significantly worse on the delayed OPAT t(8) = 4.93, p=.001. No group differences were found for detection of clock-anomalies, but the DAT group was significantly more impaired in their ability to correctly classify valid clocks t(4) = 3.5, p=.02. The findings of this study provide further support for the inclusion of object-place association paradigms in screening for dementia, and suggest that in the early stages of semantic deterioration, patients exhibit more difficulty in identifying a valid exemplar of a category than with identifying invalid exemplars. Further studies are needed to understand clock-related semantics in early DAT.

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