Intrusion errors in numerical transcoding by Alzheimer patients

S Della Sala, V Gentileschi, C Gray, H Spinnler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The errors made by brain-damaged patients when they attempt numerical transcoding tasks have recently been considered as a possible aid to early diagnosis of the disease. The transcoding errors of 20 Alzheimer's disease patients are described, and the incidence of each kind of error compared with norms from healthy subjects. Tegnér and Nybäck (Tegnér R, Nybäck H. "To hundred and twenty4our": a study of transcoding in dementia. Acta Neurologica Scandinavia 1990; 81: 177-178) reported that Alzheimer patients often express numerical information in a mixture of verbal and digital codes and Kessler and Kalbe (Kessler J, Kalbe E. Written numerical transcoding in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Cortex 1996; 32: 755-761) suggested that such intrusions of the source code into the target code may not only be largely absent from the responses of the healthy population, but also from the transcoding operations of patients with other kinds of brain damage, such as aphasia. It was found that intrusion errors occurred much more frequently in the transcoding protocols of some of the Alzheimer patients than they do in those of healthy subjects. On the other hand, they were entirely absent from the protocols of other Alzheimer patients. The implications of the findings for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease are discussed, and the phenomenon of intrusion errors is considered in terms of some of the models of arithmetical processing that have been proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-77
Number of pages10
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume38
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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