Memory impairment at initial clinical presentation in posterior cortical atrophy

Samrah Ahmed, Ian Baker, Masud Husain, Sian Thompson, Christopher Kipps, Michael Hornberger, John R. Hodges, Christopher R. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is characterized by core visuospatial and visuoperceptual deficits, and predominant atrophy in the parieto-occipital cortex. The most common underlying pathology is Alzheimer's disease (AD). Existing diagnostic criteria suggest that episodic memory is relatively preserved. The aim of this study was to examine memory performance at initial clinical presentation in PCA, compared to early-onset AD patients (EOAD). 15 PCA patients and 32 EOAD patients, and 34 healthy controls were entered into the study. Patients were tested on the Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (ACE-R), consisting of subscales in memory and visuospatial skills. PCA and EOAD patients were significantly impaired compared to controls on the ACE total score (p <  0.001), visuospatial skills (p <  0.001), and memory (p <  0.001). Consistent with the salient diagnostic deficits, PCA patients were significantly more impaired on visuospatial skills compared to EOAD patients (p <  0.001). However, there was no significant difference between patient groups in memory. Further analysis of learning, recall, and recognition components of the memory subscale showed that EOAD and PCA patients were significantly impaired compared to controls on all three components (p <  0.001), however, there was no significant difference between EOAD and PCA patients. The results of this study show that memory is impaired in the majority of PCA patients at clinical presentation. The findings suggest that memory impairment must be considered in assessment and management of PCA and second. Further study into memory in PCA is warranted, since the ACE-R is a brief screening tool and is likely to underestimate the presence of memory impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1250
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Early online date23 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2016


  • Diagnosis
  • early onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • memory
  • neuropsychology

Cite this