Faculty Articles

The utility of a modified Object Memory Test in distinguishing between different age groups of Alzheimer’s disease patients and normal controls

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Journal of Mental Health and Aging



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The Fuld Object Memory Evaluation (OME) has been shown to be an effective and relatively culture-fair neuropsychological measure for identifying memory disorders and early dementia. Although absolute performance on the OME may be reduced in normal older adults, there is a paucity of research as to whether there is a systematic reduction in the diagnostic accuracy of the instrument as a function of a patient's age. In this study, we investigated the utility of a three-trial version of the OME among three different age groups consisting of 268 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and 144 normal elderly controls (NC). An OME total retrieval cut-off score of 19 of 30 possible points for two groups of patients, one aged 68 years or less and the other 69 to 78 years, resulted in correct classification of AD patients over 92.5% of the time. Misclassification errors for normal elderly controls were less than 4.0% within these two age classifications. An older group of AD patients aged 79 to 90 years could be classified with greater sensitivity and only a modest loss of specificity when the total retrieval cut-off score for impairment was lowered to 18. Increasing age was only mildly correlated with OME scores for both AD and NC groups. There was no significant correlation between OME scores and level of educational attainment. It is concluded that the three-trial OME holds promise as a useful memory test, which may be beneficial with older adults with limited educational backgrounds.

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