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Sustained attention in mild cognitive impairment with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Calum Hamilton, Dr Peter GallagherORCiD, Joanna Ciafone, Nicola Barnett, Sally Barker, Dr Paul Donaghy, Professor John O'Brien, Professor John-Paul TaylorORCiD, Professor Alan ThomasORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of International Neuropsychological Society. Objective: Attentional impairments are common in dementia with Lewy bodies and its prodromal stage of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB). People with MCI may be capable of compensating for subtle attentional deficits in most circumstances, and so these may present as occasional lapses of attention. We aimed to assess the utility of a continuous performance task (CPT), which requires sustained attention for several minutes, for measuring attentional performance in MCI-LB in comparison to Alzheimer's disease (MCI-AD), and any performance deficits which emerged with sustained effort. Method: We included longitudinal data on a CPT sustained attention task for 89 participants with MCI-LB or MCI-AD and 31 healthy controls, estimating ex-Gaussian response time parameters, omission and commission errors. Performance trajectories were estimated both cross-sectionally (intra-task progress from start to end) and longitudinally (change in performance over years). Results: While response times in successful trials were broadly similar, with slight slowing associated with clinical parkinsonism, those with MCI-LB made considerably more errors. Omission errors were more common throughout the task in MCI-LB than MCI-AD (OR 2.3, 95% CI: 1.1-4.7), while commission errors became more common after several minutes of sustained attention. Within MCI-LB, omission errors were more common in those with clinical parkinsonism (OR 1.9, 95% CI: 1.3-2.9) or cognitive fluctuations (OR 4.3, 95% CI: 2.2-8.8). Conclusions: Sustained attention deficits in MCI-LB may emerge in the form of attentional lapses leading to omissions, and a breakdown in inhibitory control leading to commission errors.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hamilton CA, Gallagher P, Ciafone J, Barnett N, Barker SAH, Donaghy PC, O'Brien JT, Taylor J-P, Thomas AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Year: 2024

Volume: 30

Issue: 5

Pages: 421-427

Print publication date: 01/06/2024

Online publication date: 29/11/2023

Acceptance date: 16/10/2023

Date deposited: 17/10/2023

ISSN (print): 1355-6177

ISSN (electronic): 1469-7661

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1355617723000772


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Funder referenceFunder name
ARUK-PG2015-13Alzheimer`s Research UK
GE Healthcare
NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre