A random generation task with minimum memory requirements for mild Alzheimer’s disease
Keywords:attentional control, memory, random generation, Alzheimer’s disease, aging
Mild Alzheimer’s disease patients show difficulties in everyday activities caused by attentional control involvement. They reveal qualitative differences between normal and pathological aging. Random generation tasks have been proposed as sensitive test to assess this attentional ability; however, their application to elderly people and AD patients could be biased by memory demands. In order to specifically evaluate attentional control in these subjects, we design a manual random generation task, with minimum memory requirements. It was applied to both healthy elderly people and patients with mild AD. The achieved results revealed significant differences between both groups on the diverse random indexes, showing AD patients more difficulties when interruption or avoiding answering patterns or stereotyped sequences is required, and also in switching strategies. These findings confirm that this manual random generation task allow to evaluate attentional control in a delimited way in elderly people. Besides, it is sensitive in normal aging and neurodegenerative process discrimination. Then, manual random generation tasks could be proposed in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.