Neelima Ranjith, Gangadhar Sharma, Aley Alexander, P.S. Mathuranath
Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, April-June 2010, Vol 13, Issue 2
Publication year: 2010

Objective: To determine whether learning and serial position effect (SPE) differs qualitatively and quantitatively among different types of dementia and between dementia patients and controls; we also wished to find out whether interference affects it. Materials and Methods:We administered the Malayalam version of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) to 30 cognitively unimpaired controls and 80 dementia patients [30 with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), 30 with vascular dementia (VaD), and 20 with frontotemporal dementia (FTD)] with mild severity on the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale. Results: All groups were comparable on education and age, except the FTD group, who were younger. Qualitatively, the learning pattern and SPE (with primacy and recency being superior to intermediate) was retained in the AD, VaD, and control groups. On SPE in free recall, recency was superior to intermediate in the FTD group (P < 0.01) using Bonferroni correction). On recognition, the AD and VaD groups had more misses (P < 0.01), while the FTD group had more false positives (P < 0.01). Conclusion: Quantitative learning is affected by dementia. The pattern of qualitative learning remains unaltered in dementia in the early stages.
Key Words
Serial position effect, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia