Cognitive tests aid in clinical differentiation of Alzheimer's disease versus Alzheimer's disease with Lewy body disease: Evidence from a pathological study

Azar, Martina; Chapman, Silvia; Gu, Yian; Leverenz, James B.; Stern, Yaakov; Cosentino, Stephanie

Introduction: Clinical differentiation between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and AD with Lewy body disease (LBD) is relatively imprecise. The current study examined pathologically confirmed group differences in neuropsychological functioning, and the classification ability of specific tests.

Methods: Fifty‐one participants with postmortem diagnoses of AD (n = 34) and AD plus LBD (n = 17) were drawn from the Predictors Study. One‐way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) and χ2 analyses examined group differences in neuropsychological performance. Binary logistic regressions examined predictive utility of specific tests for pathological diagnosis.

Results: Individuals with AD had better visuoconstruction (P = .006), phonemic fluency (P = .08), and processing speed than AD plus LBD (P = .013). No differences were found in memory, naming, semantic fluency, or set‐switching. Processing speed and visuoconstruction predicted pathologic group (P = .03).

Discussion: Processing speed and visuoconstruction predicted postmortem diagnosis of AD versus AD plus LBD. Current results offer guidance in the selection and interpretation of neuropsychological tests to be used in the differential diagnosis of early dementia.


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Alzheimer's & Dementia

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May 4, 2021