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Executive Functions Deficit in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Traykov, Latchezar MD, PhD, DSci* †; Raoux, Nadine MSc; Latour, Florence MD§; Gallo, Livia MD* ∥; Hanon, Olivier MD, PhD§; Baudic, Sophie PhD; Bayle, Catherine MD§; Wenisch, Emilie MD§; Remy, Philippe MD, PhD*; Rigaud, Anne-Sophie MD, PhD§

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology: December 2007 - Volume 20 - Issue 4 - p 219-224
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e31815e6254
Original Studies

Objective 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.

Background 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.

Methods We investigated 20 MCI patients and 20 normal controls using episodic memory, attention/executive functions, language, and praxis tests.

Results 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).

Conclusions 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:

Received for publication January 31, 2007; accepted October 12, 2007

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.