Weak central coherence in patients with Alzheimer’s disease

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Central coherence refers to the ability to interpret details of information into a whole. To date, the concept of central coherence is mainly used in research of autism, Asperger’s syndrome and recently in the research on eating disorders. The main purpose of the present study was to examine central coherence in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Nine Alzheimer’s disease patients and ten age- and gender-matched control subjects, who differed significantly in neurological assessment, were shown a picture of a fire. Compared to control subjects, the Alzheimer’s disease patients described the picture in a fragmented way by mentioning details and separate objects without perceiving the context of the fire. In conclusion, patients with Alzheimer’s disease are at the weak end of central coherence, and hence suffer from a fragmented view of their surroundings. The findings have important clinical implications for the understanding of patients with Alzheimer’s diseaseand also for the possibility of caregivers to meet the Alzheimer’s disease individual in an appropriate way in the everyday care.

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