Vascular Cognitive ImpairmentView this Special Issue
Dual Task Impairments in Vascular Dementia
Several studies have shown that people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) demonstrate difficulties in doing two things at once or 'dual-tasking' and that this dual task impairment is insensitive to normal ageing, chronic depression or prodromal conditions like Mild Cognitive Impairment. It is not known, however, if this impairment is specific to AD, or also present in other dementias, such as vascular dementia (VaD). In this study 15 people with VaD, 25 healthy age-matched and 25 healthy young controls were assessed using a paper and pencil dual tasking paradigm and several measures of working and episodic memory. Age had no effect on dual task performance, but the VaD patients demonstrated a significant impairment in dual tasking ability. Performance on the memory measures was instead affected by age with a further deterioration in the VaD patients. Both dual tasking and memory ability were significantly correlated with disease severity, as assessed by the MMSE. These results indicate that performance on the dual task could be a specific indicator of pathological ageing.
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