The aim of the study is to provide (i) a standardized procedure for a Cancellation Test of Digits, designed to assess in the visual modality selective attention deficits in patients with Alzheimer's disease, and (ii) a detailed analysis of how patients cope with it.
Age-, education-, and sex-adjusted normative scores earned by 352 healthy controls are set forth, as well as data yielded by the Digit Cancellation Test in 74 Alzheimer patients, in 26 patients with a CT-assessed frontal lobe lesion and in a group of 24 healthy subjects urged to perform the task with a shortened time-constraint. Findings include discriminant power of Alzheimer patients versus healthy controls, sensitivity to cognitive evolution of the dementing process and analysis of errors. Attention data failed to supply psychometric support for the posterior-to-anterior algorithm of progressive cortical encroachment of Alzheimer's disease suggested by PET-findings.
Emphasis is put on methodological aspects of neuropsychological research on Alzheimer patients and on the analysis of processing components of the tests employed. Results are discussed in the light of the relationships between psychometric assessments and related functions, and underlying neuronal degeneration.