Publication date: October 2019
Source: Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 29
Author(s): Paresh A. Malhotra
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is characteristically perceived as primarily being a disorder of episodic memory, with prominent attentional impairments more typically being associated with other neurodegenerative conditions, such as Dementia with Lewy Bodies. However, attention is also affected early on in Alzheimer’s, particularly in individuals with young onset and atypical syndromes. In addition, some initial symptoms that are apparently due to episodic memory loss may be secondary to failures of attentional processes.
This review delineates the various attentional impairments that can be observed in patients with AD, and addresses them through the conceptual framework of attention proposed by Posner and Petersen. It also describes how current knowledge of the development of AD has influenced our understanding of how these deficits arise. Finally, there is a brief summary of the effects of current AD treatments on attentional processes, and how future pharmacological approaches might better target these deficits.