Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale: A Subtest Analysis

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SummaryThe Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS) was administered to 61 Alzheimer patients, 52 elderly controls, and 80 controls between age 7 and 54 years. The Alzheimer group was categorized into different severity levels of dementia based on MMSE scores: very mild (≥ 24), mild (≥20), moderate (10–19), and severe (0–9). All 11 ADAS Cognitive subtest scores for the mild, moderate, and severe dementia groups were statistically worse than the elderly control group. This was also the case for the very mild group, except for Naming, Commands, Constructional Praxis, and Ideational Praxis. In terms of magnitude of effect, memory and spontaneous language items were the earliest indicators on the ADAS, while praxis, commands, and naming items were only sensitive later in the course of the disorder. The best single indicators of progression throughout the severity continuum of dementia (i.e., from normal to severe) were the Orientation subtest, the ADAS Cognitive score, and the ADAS Total score. The ADAS Noncognitive subtests generally did not show the progression with increasing dementia that was evident on the ADAS Cognitive subtests. Differences in educational level had no statistically significant effects on any of the ADAS subtest scores, and age differences were few and small in magnitude. The differential rate of decline of the various ADAS subtests appears to reflect both the changing pattern of cognitive impairments as a function of severity of DAT and also to some extent the psychometric limitations of some of the subtests.

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