Preserved Cognitive Functions in Dementia
Recent neuropsychological studies have established that there are marked differences in the pattern of loss and preservation of cognitive function among patients with dementias of differing etiologies. These distinctions are most clear early in the course of the patients’ illnesses, when the patients would be considered mildly or moderately demented on the basis of their scores on standard mental status examinations. As the dementias progress, their distinctive cognitive features tend to blur, yet some patients who have suffered severe losses in most areas of mental functioning retain the capacity to perform some skilled activities remarkably well. The major purpose of this chapter is to describe several of these cases, attempting to identify common features of these preserved cognitive capacities. To provide a background from which to consider the severely demented patients’ performances, I will first review recent findings concerning cognitive functions that are relatively well preserved in less seriously demented patients.
KeywordsProactive Interference Retrograde Amnesia Demented Patient Remote Memory Amnesic Patient
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