Patterns of verbal memory performance in mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer disease, and normal aging

Melanie C. Greenaway, Laura H. Lacritz, Dani Binegar, Myron F. Weiner, Anne Lipton, C. Munro Cullum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) typically demonstrate memory loss that falls between normal aging (NA) and Alzheimer disease (AD), but little is known about the pattern of memory dysfunction in MCI. METHOD: To explore this issue, California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) performance was examined across groups of MCI, AD, and NA. RESULTS: MCI subjects displayed a pattern of deficits closely resembling that of AD, characterized by reduced learning, rapid forgetting, increased recency recall, elevated intrusion errors, and poor recognition discriminability with increased false-positives. MCI performance was significantly worse than that of controls and better than that of AD patients across memory indices. Although qualitative analysis of CVLT profiles may be useful in individual cases, discriminant function analysis revealed that delayed recall and total learning were the best aspects of learning/memory on the CVLT in differentiating MCI, AD, and NA. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the position that amnestic MCI represents an early point of decline on the continuum of AD that is different from normal aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Alzheimer disease
  • California Verbal Learning Test
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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