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Table of Contents
Vol. 17, No. 3, 2004
Issue release date: March 2004
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2004;17:174–180
(DOI:10.1159/000076353)

Getting Lost: Directed Attention and Executive Functions in Early Alzheimer’s Disease Patients

Chiu Y.-C. · Algase D. · Whall A. · Liang J. · Liu H.-C. · Lin K.-N. · Wang P.-N.
aChang-Gung University, Department and Graduate Institute of Nursing, Taoyuan, Taiwan; bUniversity of Michigan School of Nursing, and cUniversity of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Mich., USA; dNeurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and eDepartment of Neurology, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

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Abstract

This study explores the link between directed attention (DA) and getting lost behavior (GLB) in early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) using a cross-sectional design with 3 groups. Based on their dementia levels, 116 community-dwelling participants were recruited from a teaching hospital in Taiwan and classified as the non-demented control, questionably demented, and mild AD groups. Statistical analyses include Pearson correlations, one-way ANOVA, and multiple regressions. Attentional impairments, consisting of distractibility, impulsivity, and executive function problems, significantly predict GLB in familiar and unfamiliar environments. Irritability and executive function problems are associated with mental difficulties in choosing a turn, whereas the use of way-finding strategies reduces GLB. Future interventions may include: (a) mental hygiene of aging; (b) programs targeted at improving attentional function and effective way-finding, and (c) inclusion of DA tests in a routine clinical neuropsychological examination for early detection and accurate diagnosis of dementia.



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