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When the Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment Disappears: Characterisation of the Memory Profile

Perri, Roberta MD, PhD*; Carlesimo, Giovanni A. MD, PhD* †; Serra, Laura PsyD, PhD*; Caltagirone, Carlo MD* †and the Early Diagnosis Group of the Italian Interdisciplinary Network on Alzheimer's Disease

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology: June 2009 - Volume 22 - Issue 2 - p 109-116
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e3181a7225c
Original Studies

Background/Objectives Subjects affected by mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may improve during the observation period. This is the first study investigating qualitative features of memory deficits in subjects affected by reversible MCI [reversible cognitive impairment (RCI)].

Methods Baseline cognitive and memory performances of 18 subjects affected by amnestic MCI who had normalized cognitive performances at follow-ups were compared with those of 76 amnestic MCI subjects who still showed impaired cognitive performances at the 24-month follow-up (MCI) and with those of a group of 87 matched control subjects (normal controls).

Results Compared with normal controls the memory deficit in the MCI group affected all aspects of explicit long-term memory functioning; in the RCI group, instead, the memory deficit only affected the free recall of verbal material, particularly when the encoding could be improved by the use of semantic strategies.

Conclusions These results are consistent with the view that the memory deficit in the MCI group is due to a very early degenerative pathology; in the RCI group, instead, a transitory reduction of processing resources, resulting a poor encoding of incoming material, is likely at the origin of the reversible memory disorder.

*Foundation IRCCS Santa Lucia

University of Rome “Tor Vergata,” Rome, Italy

Reprints: Roberta Perri, MD, PhD, Fondazione IRCCS Santa Lucia, Via Ardeatina 306, Rome 00179, Italy (e-mail: r.perri@hsantalucia.it).

Received for publication May 8, 2008; Accepted March 4, 2009

Early Diagnosis Group of the Italian Interdisciplinary Network on Alzheimer Disease. Members and Centres who participated to the study: Fondazione Don Gnocchi, Milano: M. Alberoni; Ospedale S. Gerardo, Monza: I. Appollonio; INRCA—C. da Mossa, Ascoli Piceno: S. Bonaiuto; Ospedale Niguarda, Milano: G. Bottini; Università di Parma, Parma: P. Caffarra; Università Tor Vergata and Fondazione Santa Lucia, Roma: C. Caltagirone; II Università di Napoli, Napoli, S. Carlomagno; Ospedale S. Salvatore, L'Aquila: A. Carolei and P. Sucapane; Ospedale Sant'Anna, Ferrara: P. De Bastiani; Università di Milano, Milano: M. Di Luca; Clinica Santa Maria HSR, Castellanza: M. Franceschi; Ospedale Ca' Foncello, Treviso: M. Gallucci; Azienda Ospedaliera di Verona, Verona: G. Gambina; Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova, Reggio Emilia: E. Ghidoni; Ospedale C. Besta, Milano: F. Girotti; Università La Sapienza, Roma, F. Giubilei; Ospedale degli Infermi di Rimini, Rimini: S. Lorusso; IRCCS Fondazione Maugeri, Veruno: C. Marchetti; Università di Palermo, Palermo: R. Monastero; Università La Sapienza, Roma, C. Mina; Università di Brescia, Brescia: A. Padovani; Azienda Ospedaliera Sant' Antonio Abate, Gallarate: M. Perini; Centro Regionale Alzheimer—Passirana di Rho, Milano: C. Pettenati; Università di Sassari, Sassari: M.R. Piras; Università degli Studi, Ancona: L. Provinciali; Policlinico Universitario, Messina, A. Quartarone and A. Graceffa; Università di Perugia, Perugia: U. Senin; Ospedale Santa Chiara, Pisa: G. Tognoni; ASL 15, Cuneo: P. Zagnoni; Bracco-Spa, Milano: E. Grossi and R. Savarè.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.