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Visual Object Discrimination Impairment as an Early Predictor of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2019

Leslie S. Gaynor*
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
Rosie E. Curiel Cid
Department of Psychiatry and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Aging, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Gainesville, FL, USA
Ailyn Penate
Wien Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders, Miami Beach, FL, USA
Mónica Rosselli
Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Gainesville, FL, USA Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA
Sara N. Burke
Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Gainesville, FL, USA McKnight Brain Institute and Department of Neuroscience, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
Meredith Wicklund
Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Gainesville, FL, USA Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
David A. Loewenstein
Department of Psychiatry and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Aging, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Gainesville, FL, USA
Russell M. Bauer
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Gainesville, FL, USA
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Leslie S. Gaynor, University of Florida, College of Public Health and Health Professions, P.O. Box 100165, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA, Phone (352) 273-6014, Fax (352) 273-6156. E-mail:


Objective: Detection of cognitive impairment suggestive of risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression is crucial to the prevention of incipient dementia. This study was performed to determine if performance on a novel object discrimination task improved identification of earlier deficits in older adults at risk for AD. Method: In total, 135 participants from the 1Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center [cognitively normal (CN), Pre-mild cognitive impairment (PreMCI), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and dementia] completed a test of object discrimination and traditional memory measures in the context of a larger neuropsychological and clinical evaluation. Results: The Object Recognition and Discrimination Task (ORDT) revealed significant differences between the PreMCI, aMCI, and dementia groups versus CN individuals. Moreover, relative risk of being classified as PreMCI rather than CN increased as an inverse function of ORDT score. Discussion: Overall, the obtained results suggest that a novel object discrimination task improves the detection of very early AD-related cognitive impairment, increasing the window for therapeutic intervention. (JINS, 2019, 25, 688–698)

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Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2019. 

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