Neuropsychological Profiles Differentiate Alzheimer Disease from Subcortical Ischemic Vascular Dementia in an Autopsy-Defined Cohort

Liliana Ramirez-Gomez, Ling Zheng, Bruce R Reed, Joel Kramer, Dan M Mungas, Chris Zarow, Harry Vinters, John M. Ringman, Helena Chui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: The aim of this study was to assess the ability of neuropsychological tests to differentiate autopsy-defined Alzheimer disease (AD) from subcortical ischemic vascular dementia (SIVD). Methods: From a sample of 175 cases followed longitudinally that underwent autopsy, we selected 23 normal controls (NC), 20 SIVD, 69 AD, and 10 mixed cases of dementia. Baseline neuropsychological tests, including Memory Assessment Scale word list learning test, control oral word association test, and animal fluency, were compared between the three autopsy-defined groups. Results: The NC, SIVD, and AD groups did not differ by age or education. The SIVD and AD groups did not differ by the Global Clinical Dementia Rating Scale. Subjects with AD performed worse on delayed recall (p < 0.01). A receiver operating characteristics analysis comparing the SIVD and AD groups including age, education, difference between categorical (animals) versus phonemic fluency (letter F), and the first recall from the word learning test distinguished the two groups with a sensitivity of 85%, specificity of 67%, and positive likelihood ratio of 2.57 (AUC = 0.789, 95% CI 0.69-0.88, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: In neuropathologically defined subgroups, neuropsychological profiles have modest ability to distinguish patients with AD from those with SIVD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
StateAccepted/In press - Jun 9 2017


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Memory performance
  • Neuropathology
  • Subcortical ischemic vascular dementia
  • Vascular cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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