Skip to main content Accessibility help

Short-term practice effects in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: implications for diagnosis and treatment

  • Kevin Duff (a1), Leigh J. Beglinger (a1), Sara Van Der Heiden (a1), David J. Moser (a1), Stephan Arndt (a1) (a2), Susan K. Schultz (a1) and Jane S. Paulsen (a1)...


Background: Practice effects have been widely reported in healthy older adults, but these improvements due to repeat exposure to test materials have been more equivocal in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Methods: The current study examined short-term practice effects in MCI by repeating a brief battery of cognitive tests across one week in 59 older adults with amnestic MCI and 62 intact older adults.

Results: Participants with amnestic MCI showed significantly greater improvements on two delayed recall measures (p < 0.01) compared to intact peers. All other practice effects were comparable between these two groups. Practice effects significantly improved scores in the MCI group so that 49% of them were reclassified as “intact” after one week, whereas the other 51% remained “stable” as MCI. Secondary analyses indicated the MCI-Intact group demonstrated larger practice effects on two memory measures than their peers (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: These results continue to inform us about the nature of memory deficits in MCI, and could have implications for the diagnosis and possible treatment of this amnestic condition.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Kevin Duff, University of Iowa, Department of Psychiatry, MEB 1-308, Iowa City, IA 52242-1000, U.S.A. Phone: +1 319 335 6640; Fax: +1 319 353 3003. Email:


Hide All
Barnett, A. G., van der Pols, J. C. and Dobson, A. J. (2005). Regression to the mean: what it is and how to deal with it. International Journal of Epidemiology, 34, 215220.
Beglinger, L. J. et al. (2005a). Practice effects and the use of alternate forms in serial neuropsychological testing. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 20, 517529.
Beglinger, L. J., Tangphao-Daniels, O., Kareken, D. A., Zhang, L., Mohs, R. and Siemers, E. R. (2005b). Neuropsychological test performance in healthy elderly volunteers before and after donepezil administration: a randomized, controlled study. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 25, 159165.
Belleville, S., Gilbert, B., Fontaine, F., Gagnon, L., Menard, E. and Gauthier, S. (2006). Improvement of episodic memory in persons with mild cognitive impairment and healthy older adults: evidence from a cognitive intervention program. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 22, 486499.
Benedict, R. H. and Zgaljardic, D. J. (1998). Practice effects during repeated administrations of memory tests with and without alternate forms. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 20, 339352.
Bennett, I. J., Golob, E. J., Parker, E. S. and Starr, A. (2006). Memory evaluation in mild cognitive impairment using recall and recognition tests. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 28, 14081422.
Bird, C. M., Papadopoulou, K., Ricciardelli, P., Rossor, M. N. and Cipolotti, L. (2004). Monitoring cognitive changes: psychometric properties of six cognitive tests. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43, 197210.
Calero, M. D. and Navarro, E. (2007). Cognitive plasticity as a modulating variable on the effects of memory training in elderly persons. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 22, 6372.
Collie, A., Darby, D. G., Falleti, M. G., Silbert, B. S. and Maruff, P. (2002). Determining the extent of cognitive change after coronary surgery: a review of statistical procedures. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 73, 20052011.
Cooper, D. B. et al. (2001). Effects of practice on category fluency in Alzheimer's disease. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 15, 125128.
Cooper, D. B., Lacritz, L. H., Weiner, M. F., Rosenberg, R. N. and Cullum, C. M. (2004). Category fluency in mild cognitive impairment: reduced effect of practice in test-retest conditions. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, 18, 120122.
Darby, D., Maruff, P., Collie, A. and McStephen, M. (2002). Mild cognitive impairment can be detected by multiple assessments in a single day. Neurology, 59, 10421046.
de Rotrou, J., Wenisch, E., Chausson, C., Dray, F., Faucounau, V. and Rigaud, A. S. (2005). Accidental MCI in healthy subjects: a prospective longitudinal study. European Journal of Neurology, 12, 879885.
Duff, K. et al. (2007). Practice effects in the prediction of long-term cognitive outcome in three patient samples: a novel prognostic index. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 22, 1524.
Galvin, J. E. et al. (2005). Predictors of preclinical Alzheimer disease and dementia: a clinicopathologic study. Archives of Neurology, 62, 758765.
Helkala, E. L. et al. (2002). Usefulness of repeated presentation of Mini-mental State Examination as a diagnostic procedure – a population-based study. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 106, 341346.
Lines, C. R., McCarroll, K. A., Lipton, R. B. and Block, G. A. (2003). Telephone screening for amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Neurology, 60, 261266.
McCaffrey, R. J., Duff, K. and Westervelt, H. J. (2000). Practitioner's Guide to Evaluating Change with Neuropsychological Assessment Instruments. New York: Plenum/Kluwer.
Petersen, R. C., Smith, G. E., Waring, S. C., Ivnik, R. J., Tangalos, E. G. and Kokmen, E. (1999). Mild cognitive impairment: clinical characterization and outcome. Archives of Neurology, 56, 303308.
Rapp, S., Brenes, G. and Marsh, A. P. (2002). Memory enhancement training for older adults with mild cognitive impairment: a preliminary study. Aging and Mental Health, 6, 511.
Schrijnemaekers, A. M., de Jager, C. A., Hogervorst, E. and Budge, M. M. (2006). Cases with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease fail to benefit from repeated exposure to episodic memory tests as compared with controls. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 28, 438455.
Wenisch, E. et al. (2007). Cognitive stimulation intervention for elders with mild cognitive impairment compared with normal aged subjects: preliminary results. Aging: Clinical and Experimental Research, 19, 316322.
Westerberg, C. E. et al. (2006). When memory does not fail: familiarity-based recognition in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychology, 20, 193205.
Winblad, B. et al. (2004). Mild cognitive impairment – beyond controversies, towards a consensus: report of the International Working Group on Mild Cognitive Impairment. Journal of Internal Medicine, 256, 240246.
Yan, J. H. and Dick, M. B. (2006). Practice effects on motor control in healthy seniors and patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 13, 385410.


Short-term practice effects in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: implications for diagnosis and treatment

  • Kevin Duff (a1), Leigh J. Beglinger (a1), Sara Van Der Heiden (a1), David J. Moser (a1), Stephan Arndt (a1) (a2), Susan K. Schultz (a1) and Jane S. Paulsen (a1)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed