To investigate whether patients diagnosed with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have also impairment in attention/executive functions, and therefore to clarify whether all subcomponents of executive control are equally affected in MCI.
MCI refers to the transitional state between normal aging and dementia. Amnestic MCI is characterized by impaired episodic memory, although subtle impairment of executive functions has been noted on neuropsychologic tests.
We investigated 20 MCI patients and 20 normal controls using episodic memory, attention/executive functions, language, and praxis tests.
MCI patients had significantly lower scores on all measures of the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test (P<0.05 to 0.01) than controls. Furthermore, MCI had a greater number of perseverations (P<0.01) on Modified Card Sorting Test and the lowest performance on the Stroop Test (P<0.02).
Our findings showed impairment in episodic memory performance in MCI as compared with that of controls. In addition, MCI patients had problems with response inhibition, switching, and cognitive flexibility, which encompass various aspects of executive functions. This suggests that MCI may be identified by using a more detailed procedure for the assessment of cognitive decline than the evaluation of memory alone.
*Hôpital Henri Mondor, Department of Neurology, University Paris XII, Créteil
‡INSERM Unit 593, Bordeaux
§Hôpital Broca, Department of Geriatrics, Paris
¶INSERM E-332, CHU Ambroise Paré, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
†Department of Neurology, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria
∥Department of Neurosciences, University of Padova, Italy
Reprints: Prof Latchezar Traykov, MD, PhD, Dsci, Department of Neurology, Medical University, University Hospital Alexandrovska, 1, St. Georgi Sofiiski str, 1431 Sofia, Bulgaria (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received for publication January 31, 2007; accepted October 12, 2007