Objective: To confirm that performance in verbal learning and memory test (Rey's Auditory Verbal Learning Test-RAVLT) is a helpful early neuropsychological marker of dementia of Alzheimer's type (DAT). Methods: RAVLT was administered as part of a more extensive neuropsychological battery at baseline evaluation in 116 unselected patients referred by subjective memory complaints (SMC). Patients were followed longitudinally for 2 years (average interval of 27.7 ± 4 months). Seventy patients were included in the study: 27 developed probable DAT; 17 were diagnosed as cognitively normal persons and 26 were diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Remaining patients abandoned or they did not meet the criteria for DAT, MCI or control. Performance on RAVLT at the baseline evaluation was compared between groups. Results: Patients diagnosed two years later with probable DAT showed lower results, more frequently performed a score of zero at the delayed recall test (Trial 6) and had a percentage of forgetting (difference between Trials 5 and 6) higher than 75%. Score at delayed recall test and percentage of forgetting correlated with functional scales such as MMSE, Geriatric Depression Screening, Informant Questionnaire and Blessed's Dementia Rating. Conclusions: RAVLT could help to identify those patients with SMC who would progress to DAT over a few years, and also to differentiate between the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment and normal aging. A score of zero at the delayed recall test or a percentage of forgetting ≥ 75% in patients with SMC is suggestive of probable DAT in the future. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Neuropsychological marker
- Rey's Auditory Verbal Learning Test
- Subjective memory complaints