Deficits in Attention and Visual Processing but not Global Cognition Predict Simulated Driving Errors in Drivers Diagnosed With Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

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Abstract

This study sought to predict driving performance of drivers with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) using measures of attention, visual processing, and global cognition. Simulated driving performance of individuals with mild AD (n = 20) was contrasted with performance of a group of healthy controls (n = 21). Performance on measures of global cognitive function and specific tests of attention and visual processing were examined in relation to simulated driving performance. Strong associations were observed between measures of attention, notably the Test of Everyday Attention (sustained attention; r = −.651, P = .002) and the Useful Field of View (r = .563, P = .010), and driving performance among drivers with mild AD. The Visual Object and Space Perception Test–object was significantly correlated with the occurrence of crashes (r = .652, P = .002). Tests of global cognition did not correlate with simulated driving outcomes. The results suggest that professionals exercise caution when extrapolating driving performance based on global cognitive indicators.

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