JOURNAL ARTICLE

Names and numberplates: quasi-everyday associative memory tasks for distinguishing amnestic mild cognitive impairment from healthy aging

Kerryn E Pike, Glynda J Kinsella, Ben Ong, Elizabeth Mullaly, Elizabeth Rand, Elsdon Storey, David Ames, Michael Saling, Linda Clare, Samuel Parsons
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 2012, 34 (3): 269-78
22220586
Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) delineates a population at high risk for subsequently developing Alzheimer's disease (AD)--that is, people with preclinical AD. Associative episodic memory tasks are particularly sensitive to preclinical AD; however, they often lack ecological validity, which is important when evaluating performance in daily activities. We describe the development of two quasi-everyday associative memory tasks--the La Trobe Face-Name test and the La Trobe Numberplate task--and their utility in profiling and separating 70 aMCI participants from 101 healthy older adults (HOA) compared with standard episodic memory tasks. aMCI participants performed significantly worse overall and demonstrated a greater forgetting rate than HOA on both tasks. The everyday tasks separated aMCI from HOA participants as effectively as standard episodic memory tasks and were well tolerated. These tasks provide a valuable addition to neuropsychologists' toolkits with enhanced ecological (verisimilitude) and face validity for assisting in counseling clients, measuring the effect of interventions, and profiling everyday memory performance in HOA and aMCI.

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