Visual short-term memory impairments in presymptomatic familial Alzheimer's disease: A longitudinal observational study.
Pavisic IM., Nicholas JM., Pertzov Y., O'Connor A., Liang Y., Collins JD., Lu K., Weston PSJ., Ryan NS., Husain M., Fox NC., Crutch SJ.
Visual short-term memory (VSTM) deficits including VSTM binding have been associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) from preclinical to dementia stages, cross-sectionally. Yet, longitudinal investigations are lacking. The objective of this study was to evaluate VSTM function longitudinally and in relation to expected symptom onset in a cohort of familial Alzheimer's disease. Ninety-nine individuals (23 presymptomatic; 9 symptomatic and 67 controls) were included in an extension cross-sectional study and a sub-sample of 48 (23 presymptomatic carriers, 6 symptomatic and 19 controls), attending two to five visits with a median interval of 1.3 years, included in the longitudinal study. Participants completed the "What was where?" relational binding task (which measures memory for object identification, localisation and object-location binding under different conditions of memory load and delay), neuropsychology assessments and genetic testing. Compared to controls, presymptomatic carriers within 8.5 years of estimated symptom onset showed a faster rate of decline in localisation performance in long-delay conditions (4s) and in traditional neuropsychology measures of verbal episodic memory. This study represents the first longitudinal VSTM investigation and shows that changes in memory resolution may be sensitive to tracking cognitive decline in preclinical AD at least as early as changes in the more traditional verbal episodic memory tasks.