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Individuals with depression often experience widespread and persistent cognitive deficits, which might be due to brain atrophy and cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD). We therefore studied the associations between depression, markers of brain atrophy and CSVD, and cognitive functioning.
We used cross-sectional data from the population-based Maastricht study (n = 4734; mean age 59.1 ± 8.6 years, 50.2% women), which focuses on type 2 diabetes. A current episode of major depressive disorder (MDD, n = 151) was assessed by the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Volumes of cerebral spinal fluid, white matter, gray matter and white matter hyperintensities, presence of lacunar infarcts and cerebral microbleeds, and total CSVD burden were assessed by 3 T magnetic resonance imaging. Multiple linear and logistic regression analyses tested the associations between MDD, brain markers and cognitive functioning in memory, information processing speed, and executive functioning & attention, and presence of cognitive impairment. Structural equation modeling was used to test mediation.
In fully adjusted models, MDD was associated with lower scores in information processing speed [mean difference = −0.18(−0.28;−0.08)], executive functioning & attention [mean difference = −0.13(−0.25;−0.02)], and with higher odds of cognitive impairment [odds ratio (OR) = 1.60(1.06;2.40)]. MDD was associated with CSVD in participants without type 2 diabetes [OR = 1.65(1.06;2.56)], but CSVD or other markers of brain atrophy or CSVD did not mediate the association with cognitive functioning.
MDD is associated with more impaired information processing speed and executive functioning & attention, and overall cognitive impairment. Furthermore, MDD was associated with CSVD in participants without type 2 diabetes, but this association did not explain an impaired cognitive profile.
Research shows that cognitive rehabilitation (CR) has the potential to improve goal performance and enhance well-being for people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This single subject, multiple baseline design (MBD) research investigated the clinical efficacy of an 8-week individualised CR intervention for individuals with early stage AD.
Three participants with early stage AD were recruited to take part in the study. The intervention consisted of eight sessions of 60–90 minutes of CR. Outcomes included goal performance and satisfaction, quality of life, cognitive and everyday functioning, mood, and memory self-efficacy for participants with AD; and carer burden, general mental health, quality of life, and mood of carers.
Visual analysis of MBD data demonstrated a functional relationship between CR and improvements in participants’ goal performance. Subjective ratings of goal performance and satisfaction increased from baseline to post-test for three participants and were maintained at follow-up for two. Baseline to post-test quality of life scores improved for three participants, whereas cognitive function and memory self-efficacy scores improved for two.
Our findings demonstrate that CR can improve goal performance, and is a socially acceptable intervention that can be implemented by practitioners with assistance from carers between sessions. This study represents one of the promising first step towards filling a practice gap in this area. Further research and randomised-controlled trials are required.
The purpose of this study was to examine the utility of the clock drawing task (CDT) in differentiating between patients with mild and very mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) and normal controls. Thirty normal elderly individuals and 30 patients with probable AD were entered into the study and asked, in a standard fashion, to draw a clock from memory. All the clocks were scored according to two previously described standardized scoring systems, and the accuracy of classification into normal or AD groups was determined. Both CDT scales could discriminate between moderate AD and normal aging but lacked sensitivity in the very mild AD cases; mild cases showed intermediate sensitivity. In conclusion, the CDT as a test for AD is insensitive in the early-stage cases, but sensitivity improves with increasing severity of dementia. The CDT is unlikely to be useful in distinguishing between AD in its early stages and normal aging.
Despite new developments in the concept of vascular dementia, the Hachinski Ischemic Score (HIS) and its modified versions continue to be widely used in the clinical differentiation of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and ischemic vascular dementia (IVD). The sensitivity of the HIS and two modified versions in the diagnosis of AD, IVD, and single infarcts in a large, geriatric population with mild cognitive impairment (N = 100) was evaluated. Sensitivity for identification of AD was greater than 90% but was less than 70% for IVD. Over one third of patients with one or more infarcts on computed tomographic brain scans and 63% of mixed cases were classified as having probable AD. It is concluded that ischemic scores may be useful at predicting prevalence rates if individual case accuracy is ignored. Despite being sensitive to identifying AD, ischemic scores are insensitive to both cerebral infarction and IVD and cannot reliably exclude IVD. Finally, patients with mixed dementia should not be expected to have intermediate scores.
Heteroepitaxial multilayers of YBa2Cu3Ox/PrBa2Cu3Ox/YBa2Cu3Ox have been made by sputtering. Typical thicknesses of the individual layers are of the order of 50 nm. No degradation of the transition temperature and the critical current density due to the presence of the PrBa2Cu3Ox layer could be observed. By using High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy the atomic details of the interfaces and the defect structures have been studied. These films showed a perfectly stacked lattice just above the interface between film and substrate. The orientation of the c-axis perpendicular to the substrate was fairly perfect. The structural faults are mainly distributed in the middle and overlying layers. The dominant defects in our films seems to be stacking faults which give rise to nano-sized coherent anti-phase domains with the 1-2-3 structure.
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