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Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2010;30:83–92

Awareness of Memory Abilities in Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Suspected Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment

Lin F.a, e · Wharton W.b, d · Dowling N.M.c, d · Ries M.L.b, d · Johnson S.C.b, d, e · Carlsson C.M.b, d, e · Asthana S.b, d, e · Gleason C.E.b, d, e
aSchool of Nursing, bSection of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health, and cDepartment of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, dWisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and eGeriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center of the William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran’s Hospital, Madison, Wisc., USA
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Anosognosia
  • Dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychology
  • Community-dwelling

 goto top of outline Abstract

Aims: To examine awareness of memory abilities by groups (healthy control, suspected dementia/mild cognitive impairment, MCI, and diagnosed dementia/MCI), and to describe group differences in the relationship between awareness and cognitive performance in a community sample. Methods: In a cross-sectional design, 183 subjects were evaluated in a community setting and categorized into 3 groups based on their cognitive performance and reported medical history. Awareness of memory abilities was quantified using a published anosognosia ratio (AR) comparing the estimated to the objective memory performance by subjects. Each group was further categorized into ‘overestimators’, ‘accurate estimators’, and ‘underestimators’ based on their AR scores. Results: The suspected and diagnosed dementia/MCI groups had significantly higher AR scores than the controls. The suspected group also had a significantly larger proportion (96.2%) of overestimators than the diagnosed (73.3%) and control groups (26.1%). Impaired awareness in overestimators of the suspected and diagnosed groups was correlated with deficits in executive function, language or global cognition. Conclusion: Impaired awareness of memory abilities was prevalent in community-dwelling older adults with suspected and diagnosed dementia or MCI. Those with suspected dementia or MCI were more likely to overestimate their memory abilities than their diagnosed counterparts, suggesting that limited awareness of deficits may hinder utilization of dementia diagnostic services.

Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Carey E. Gleason, PhD
Madison VA GRECC (D4211)
2500 Overlook Terrace
Madison, WI 53705 (USA)
Tel. +1 608 280 7000, Fax +1 608 280 7165, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Accepted: June 17, 2010
Published online: August 12, 2010
Number of Print Pages : 10
Number of Figures : 2, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 41
Additional supplementary material is available online - Number of Parts : 1

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders

Vol. 30, No. 1, Year 2010 (Cover Date: August 2010)

Journal Editor: Chan-Palay V. (New York, N.Y.)
ISSN: 1420-8008 (Print), eISSN: 1421-9824 (Online)

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