The Use of Executive Fluency Tasks to Detect Cognitive Impairment in Individuals with Subjective Cognitive Decline.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Behav Sci (Basel), Volume 12, Issue 12 (2022)


<p><b>OBJECTIVE: </b>Although evidence has indicated that subjective cognitive decline (SCD) may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the objectification of cognitive impairment in SCD is challenging, mainly due to the lack of sensitivity in assessment tools. The present study investigated the potential contribution of two verbal fluency tasks with high executive processing loads to the identification of cognitive impairment in SCD.</p><p><b>METHODS: </b>A total of 60 adults with SCD and 60 healthy controls (HCs) performed one free action (verb) fluency task and two fluency tasks with more executive processing load-an alternating fluency task and an orthographic constraint fluency task-and the results were compared.</p><p><b>RESULT: </b>In the free action fluency task, the performance of the participants with SCD and the HCs was similar. However, HCs performed significantly better than SCD in the alternating fluency task, which required mental flexibility, and the orthographic constraint fluency task, which required inhibition.</p><p><b>DISCUSSION: </b>The study findings suggest that verbal fluency tasks with high executive processing load could be useful in detecting cognitive deficits at the preclinical stage of AD. The inclusion of such tests in assessment batteries should be considered in order to improve the detection of subtle cognitive impairment in preclinical major neurocognitive disorder populations.</p>

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