The utility of placing recollection in opposition to familiarity in early discrimination of healthy aging and very mild dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.
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This study explored the ability to control familiarity-based information in a memory exclusion paradigm in healthy young, older adults, and early stage DAT individuals. We compared the predictive power of memory exclusion performance to standard psychometric performance in discriminating between aging and the earliest stage of DAT and between APOe4-present and APOe4-absent genotype in healthy control individuals. Participants responded "yes" to words that were previously semantically encoded, and "no" to words that were previously read aloud and to new words. The number of targets and distractors on the read "distractor" list was manipulated to investigate the degree to which aging and DAT influence the ability to recollect in the face of distractor familiarity due to repetition. Memory exclusion performance was better for healthy older adults than very mild DAT individuals and better for healthy control individuals with APOe4 allele than those without APOe4 allele even after controlling for standard psychometric performance. Discussion focuses on the importance of attentional control systems in memory retrieval and the utility of the opposition paradigm for discriminating healthy versus pathological aging.
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