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Vol. 8, No. 4, 1997
Issue release date: 1997
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 1997;8:244–247

Distinguishing between Patients with Depression or Very Mild Alzheimer's Disease Using the Delayed-Word-Recall Test

Coen R.F. · Kirby M. · Swanwick G.R.J. · Maguire C.P. · Walsh J.B. · Coakley D. · O'Neill D. · Lawlor A.B.
aMercer's Institute for Research on Ageing, St. James's Hospital, and bDepartment of Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

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The present study investigated the accuracy of an extended version of the Delayed Word Recall (DWR) test in distinguishing patients with very mild Alzheimer''s disease (AD) (Mini Mental State Examination score ≧ 23) from community-dwelling depressed/dysthymic patients. The DWR test was administered to 26 non-depressed patients who, at the time of DWR administration or on follow-up, fulfilled NINCDS/ADRDA criteria for probable AD, and to 20 age-matched non-dementing patients with a diagnosis of major depression (n = 12) or dysthymia (n = 8) according to DSM-III-R criteria. Sensitivity and specificity were, respectively, 96 and 100% for DWR free recall, and 92 and 100% for DWR recognition. In this study both DWR free recall and recognition measures were highly sensitive and specific in distinguishing very-mild-AD patients from depressed/dysthymic patients. The investigation of more severely depressed patients is warranted.

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