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December 1997

Prose Recall in DementiaA Comparison of Delay Intervals

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychology, Washington University, St Louis, Mo.

Arch Neurol. 1997;54(12):1501-1504. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550240053012

Objective:  To explore one methodological variation, delay length, that may contribute to contradictory findings in the literature regarding the use of delayed recall in the detection of early-stage dementia of the Alzheimer type.

Design:  Comparison of participants with dementia and without dementia on a prose recall task at both 10- and 30-minute delay intervals.

Setting:  Washington University Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, St Louis, Mo.

Participants:  Participants with very mild dementia of the Alzheimer type (n=136) and uncompromised elderly individuals (n=197).

Main Outcome Measures:  Results of the Logical Memory subtest from the Wechsler Memory Scale with immediate recall and 10- and 30-minute delayed recall.

Results:  Participants with dementia recalled significantly less material than elderly controls at both immediate and delayed recall (P<.001). Multiple regression analyses revealed that dementia classification failed to account for additional variance in the 30-minute delayed score beyond that which could be accounted for by the immediate score. A small but significant proportion of variance was accounted for in the 10-minute delayed score beyond that which could be accounted for by the immediate recall score.

Conclusion:  Delayed recall of a prose passage does not appear to enhance the differentiation of very mild dementia of the Alzheimer type from normal aging in a meaningful way, whether the recall delay is 10 or 30 minutes.