The expression of neurodegenerative diseases can be categorized into three main symptomatic domains: neurological, cognitive and, neuropsychiatric. This review focuses on the cognitive profile and neuropsychological assessment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The topography and progression of brain neuropathology determines the cognitive expression of the disease. Thus, in accordance with the initial involvement of the medial temporal lobe, cognitive changes in AD start with specific difficulties in encoding and storage of new information. This particular memory deficit can be optimally detected with memory tests that enhance mnemonic retrieval by means of encoding specificity technique such as the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test (FCSRT). Along the course of the disease, the neuropathology spreads to association cortices, and other neuropsychological deficits can be detected. A comprehensive neuropsychological examination encompassing several cognitive domains can provide a pattern of altered and preserved functions that is helpful to early detection, differential diagnosis and even prognosis of progression in predementia stages. The use of adapted and standardized instruments is necessary to properly estimate cognitive and functional performance in AD. © 2012 IMSS.
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Memory assessment