Temporal Order Memory Assessed during Spatiotemporal Navigation As a Behavioral Cognitive Marker for Differential Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis

Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6 University, Navigation, Memory and Aging Team, Equipe Navigation Memoire et Vieillissement team, UMR7102, CNRS, F75005 Paris, France.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.34). 02/2012; 32(6):1942-52. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4556-11.2012
Source: PubMed


Episodic memory impairment is a hallmark for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Most actual tests used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease do not assess the spatiotemporal properties of episodic memory and lead to false-positive or -negative diagnosis. We used a newly developed, nonverbal navigation test for Human, based on the objective experimental testing of a spatiotemporal experience, to differentially Alzheimer's disease at the mild stage (N = 16 patients) from frontotemporal lobar degeneration (N = 11 patients) and normal aging (N = 24 subjects). Comparing navigation parameters and standard neuropsychological tests, temporal order memory appeared to have the highest predictive power for mild Alzheimer's disease diagnosis versus frontotemporal lobar degeneration and normal aging. This test was also nonredundant with classical neuropsychological tests. As a conclusion, our results suggest that temporal order memory tested in a spatial navigation task may provide a selective behavioral marker of Alzheimer's disease.

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    • "Successfulness in other spatial tasks is probably also connected to hippocampal function. Memory for temporal sequence of three body turns in a Starmaze was documented to activate left hippocampus (Igloi et al., 2010) and later shown to distinguish well between mild AD patients and controls (Bellassen et al., 2012). Memory for location of objects in space was several time consistently shown to be dependent on hippocampal function (Milner et al., 1997; Kessels et al., 2004; Stepankova et al., 2004) and reported to be deficient in patients suffering AD (Bucks and Willison, 1997; Brandt et al., 2005) and also in MCI patients, although to a lesser degree than in AD (Kessels et al., 2010). "
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    • "Our results may have further clinical implications in light of a 2012 report that impaired temporal order memory may be a selective behavioral marker of Alzheimer disease (Bellassen et al, 2012). In coming years, these combined findings could have particular meaning for the growing number of people with HIV infection who are living into their 60s and beyond (High et al, 2012). "
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    • "In this study, the patients, who made at least one error on the road, did not differ in neuropsychological tests from those with no errors on the road, but they had lower right MTL and posterior parietal cortex volumes that probably underlie spatial navigation deficit. Temporal order spatial memory was recently suggested as another cognitive marker of AD and aMCI (Bellassen et al., 2012). Remembering a sequence of three turns in a simple maze distinguished well between AD, healthy older subjects, and group of patients with frontotemporal lobe degeneration. "
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