[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aging attenuates automatic auditory discrimination to duration change, whereas frequency change detection is relatively unimpaired in aging and in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here we studied with a whole-head magnetometer whether cortical auditory discrimination to duration change as shown by magnetic mismatch negativity (MMNm) response is impaired in AD. Twenty AD patients with mild to moderate cognitive impairment and 18 age-matched healthy subjects were monaurally presented a sequence of frequent standard tones embedded with occasional deviants with shorter duration. MMNm was significantly delayed in the left hemisphere ipsilaterally to the ear stimulated in the patient group, whereas the MMNm amplitudes over both hemispheres were quite similar in both groups. This suggests that although MMNm is delayed in the left hemisphere, the automatic discrimination to duration change in the auditory cortex is not attenuated in the early stages of AD.