Author(s): Greenaway MC, Lacritz LH, Binegar D, Weiner MF, Lipton A
OBJECTIVE: Individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) typically demonstrate memory loss that falls between normal aging (NA) and Alzheimer disease (AD), but little is known about the pattern of memory dysfunction in MCI. METHOD: To explore this issue, California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) performance was examined across groups of MCI, AD, and NA. RESULTS: MCI subjects displayed a pattern of deficits closely resembling that of AD, characterized by reduced learning, rapid forgetting, increased recency recall, elevated intrusion errors, and poor recognition discriminability with increased false-positives. MCI performance was significantly worse than that of controls and better than that of AD patients across memory indices. Although qualitative analysis of CVLT profiles may be useful in individual cases, discriminant function analysis revealed that delayed recall and total learning were the best aspects of learning/memory on the CVLT in differentiating MCI, AD, and NA. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the position that amnestic MCI represents an early point of decline on the continuum of AD that is different from normal aging.