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Dementia & Neuropsychologia

Print version ISSN 1980-5764

Dement. neuropsychol. vol.3 no.3 São Paulo July/Sept. 2009

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1980-57642009DN30300010 

Original Articles

Visuospatial function in early Alzheimer's disease: Preliminary study

Funções visoespaciais na doença de Alzheimer de intensidade leve: estudo preliminar

Natália Bezerra Mota Quental1 

Sonia Maria Dozzi Brucki2 

Orlando Francisco Amodeo Bueno3 

1Post Graduate Student, Psychologist, Department of Psychobiology of the Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil;

2PhD, Psychologist, Department of Psychobiology of the Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil;

3MD, Neurologist, Department of Psychobiology of the Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo SP, Brazil.

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most frequent cause of dementia, accounting for 55% of all cases. AD patients gradually lose functional capacity, manifesting deficits in attention, language, temporal and direction orientation, mood, socialization and visuospatial function. The visuospatial function entails identification of a stimulus and its location. AD patients can present deficits in visuo-spatial skills during initial stages of the disease, but in the course of clinical evolution this function can become severely impaired. One of the neuropsychological tests indicated to evaluate the visuospatial function is the VOSP (The Visual Object and Space Perception Battery).

Objectives:

The aim of this preliminary study was to detect visuospatial dysfunction in early AD patients using the VOSP, and assess its sensitivity in a Brazilian sample.

Results:

Controls outperformed AD patients on all neuropsychological evaluations, except the Corsi block tapping task and cancellation task-errors. The AD patients performed significantly worse on all object perception and two space perception (Number Location and Cube Analyses) subtests of the VOSP.

Conclusion:

The AD patients demonstrated impaired visuospatial function in several aspects. The subtests of the VOSP were found to be sensitive for detecting this impairment in mild cases.

Key words: dementia; early Alzheimer disease; visuospatial function.

Resumo

A doença de Alzheimer (DA) é a causa mais frequente de demencia, atingindo 55% dos casos. Os pacientes com DA gradativamente perdem a capacidade funcional, apresentando comprometimento na atenção, na linguagem, na orientação temporal e espacial, uso de objetos, no humor, na socialização, na função visuoespacial. A função visuoespacial diz respeito a identificação de um estímulo e a sua localização. O paciente com DA pode apresentar perdas da habilidade visuo-espacial no início da doença, contudo no curso do quadro clínico esta função deve apresentar-se bastante comprometida. Um dos instrumentos utilizados para avaliar a função visuo-espacial é o VOSP ( Visual Object and Space Perception Battery).

Objetivos:

A proposta deste estudo é avaliar as alterações na função visuoespacial em pacientes com DA de intensidade leve com a VOSP, e verificar a sensibilidade desta bateria em uma amostra brasileira.

Resultados:

Os controles obtiveram melhores resultados em todos os testes neuropsicológicos, com excessão do Blocos de Corsi e no teste de cancelamento - erros. Nos subtestes da VOSP os pacientes com DA mostraram uma significativa diferença em todos os subtestes de percepção de objeto e em dois de percepção de lugar (Localização de Número e Análise de Cubo).

Conclusão:

Os pacientes com DA leve mostraram ter a função visuoespacial comprometida em alguns aspectos. Os subtestes da VOSP mostraram-se sensiveis a esses déficits na fase leve da doença.

Palavras-chave: demência; doença de Alzheimer de intensidade leve; função visoespacial.

Texto completo disponível apenas em PDF.

Full text available only in PDF format.

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Received: July 03, 2009; Accepted: August 13, 2009

Natália Bezerra Mota Quental - Department of Psychobiology of the Federal University of São Paulo - Rua Embaú 54 - 04039-069 São Paulo SP - Brazil. E-mail: natalia_mota@hotmail.com

Disclosure: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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