Short digital spatial memory test detects impairment in alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment

Jackie M. Poos*, Ineke J. M. van der Ham, Anna E. Leeuwis, Yolande A. L. Pijnenburg, Wiesje M. van der Flier, Albert Postma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Impairment in navigation abilities and object location memory are often seen in early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), yet these constructs are not included in standard neuropsychological assessment. We investigated the differential ability of a short digital spatial memory test in mild AD dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Methods: 21 patients with AD dementia (66.9 ± 6.9; 47% female), 22 patients with MCI (69.6 ± 8.3; 46% female) and 21 patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) (62.2 ± 8.9; 48% female) from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort performed the Object Location Memory Test (OLMT), consisting of a visual perception and memory trial, and the Virtual Tübingen (VT) test, consisting of a scene recognition, route continuation, route ordering and distance comparison task. The correlations with other cognitive domains were examined. Results: Patients with mild AD dementia (Z: −2.51 ± 1.15) and MCI (Z: −1.81 ± 0.92) performed worse than participants with SCD (Z: 0.0 ± 1.0) on the OLMT. Scene recognition and route continuation were equally impaired in patients with AD dementia (Z: −1.14 ± 0.73; Z: −1.44 ± 1.13) and MCI (Z: −1.37 ± 1.25; Z: −1.21 ± 1.07). Route ordering was only impaired in patients with MCI (Z: −0.82 ± 0.78). Weak to moderate correlations were found between route continuation and memory (r(64) = 0.40, p < 0.01), and between route ordering and attention (r(64) = 0.33, p < 0.01), but not for the OLMT. Conclusion: A short digital spatial memory test battery was able to detect object location memory and navigation impairment in patients with mild AD dementia and MCI, highlighting the value of incorporating such a test battery in standard neuropsychological assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1350
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

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