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Cutting-edge science for health

How do the Alzheimer disease patients orient in space?


One of the research topics of the Department of Neurophysiology of Memory are the deficits in spatial abilities of neurology and neuropsychiatry patients, like Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

The aim of cognitive mechanism clarification of such deficits is an improvement of early patient diagnostics or more precise evaluation of the effects of drugs or cognitive rehabilitation. One ability important for orientation in space is also the ability to imagine a spatial scene from another viewpoint, called spatial perspective taking. In a recent study the scientist from the Department of neurophysiology of memory, together with 2nd medical faculty UK and Motol University Hospital, examined this ability in patients suffering Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a disorder with memory or other cognitive impairment with high probability of future Alzheimer’s disease development. In this study an impairment of spatial perspective taking was documented in both groups of patients. In addition, the computer test almost perfectly distinguished the patients with Alzheimer’s disease from healthy volunteers of the same age based on their successfulness. All healthy controls reached response ratio of 86% in men and 93% in women, while all men and almost all women reached lower response ratio.

This discrimination power documents possible use of the spatial perspective taking ability in early dementia diagnostics. It also suggests that one of the reasons for earlier documented spatial navigation difficulties in Alzheimer’s disease patients could also be the worse spatial perspective taking ability.

 

 

Markova,H., Laczo,J., Andel,R., Hort,J., and Vlcek,K. (2015). Perspective taking abilities in amnestic mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Behavioural Brain Research 281, 229-238. IF= 3.0 (2014)