Attention network functioning in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease.Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2010; 29(2):139-45DG
Attention deficits are at the core of the defects in neuropsychological performance which define both dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Most studies have used separate tasks to test different attention abilities in patients with these diagnoses, precluding the assessment of any interaction among the different attention components.
We used a version of the Attention Network Test in which the alerting, orienting and executive attention networks, along with their interactions, could be assessed with a single task. Three groups of participants were tested: DLB patients (n = 13), AD patients (n = 18) and healthy controls (n = 18).
The alerting signal improved orienting attention and increased the conflict effect in the healthy controls, but they had no effect on these networks in the AD patients. The DLB patients only showed preserved orienting and conflict effects when the alerting signal was present, indicating that there was regulation of the orienting and executive attention networks by the alerting signal.
The most important differences among the 3 groups were observed in the attention network interactions, where alerting played a more relevant role in the DLB than in the AD patients. Under alerting states, the DLB patients showed evidence of certain regulation in the orienting and executive attention networks.