Dual task abilities as a possible preclinical marker of Alzheimer's disease in carriers of the E280A presenilin-1 mutation

Sarah E. MacPherson*, Mario Parra Rodriguez, Sonia Moreno, Francisco Lopera, Sergio Della Sala

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Previous dual task studies have demonstrated that patients with sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) are impaired in their ability to perform two tasks simultaneously compared with healthy controls, despite being able to successfully perform the tasks alone relatively well. Yet, it remains unclear what the earliest clinical manifestation of this dual task coordination deficit is. This study examined dual task abilities in individuals who are at risk of early-onset familial AD due to an E280A presenilin-1 mutation. Thirty-nine carriers of the gene mutation who did not meet the criteria for AD and 29 non-carrier healthy controls were asked to perform digit recall accompanied by a secondary tracking task. Individuals who were carriers of the genetic mutation demonstrated significantly higher dual task costs than healthy non-carriers. Dual task performance was found to be more sensitive to this very early stage of FAD than episodic memory measures. The findings support the notion that a deficit in the coordination mechanism of the central executive may be a pre-clinical marker for the early detection of AD due to the E280A presenilin-1 gene mutation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)234-241
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


    • Cognition disorders
    • Dual task
    • Early diagnosis
    • Familial Alzheimer's disease presenilin-1
    • Neuropsychological tests
    • Working memory

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Neurology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Clinical Psychology
    • General Neuroscience
    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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