Supplementary Material for: A Comparison of Serial Position Effects in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Parkinson’s Disease or to Alzheimer’s Disease

posted on 07.07.2020 by Meyer A., Handabaka I., Ehrensperger M.M., Gschwandtner U., Hatz F., Monsch A.U., Stieglitz R.D., Fuhr P.
Objective: The first (primacy region) and last (recency region) items of a word list are generally better memorized than items from the middle region. The recency effect depends on short-term memory (STM) and the primacy effect on long-term memory (LTM), where verbal information is transferred from STM into LTM by maintenance rehearsal. We compared the serial position effects (SPE) between patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Parkinson’s disease (PD), i.e., PD-MCI, and patients with MCI due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD-MCI), and evaluated the influence of SPE and frontostriatal deficits on verbal memory recall. Methods: Four similar groups of subjects participated in the study: 26 PD-MCI patients, 26 cognitively normal patients with PD (PD-CN), 26 AD-MCI patients, and 26 normal controls (NC). Verbal episodic memory, verbal span, attentional capacity, executive functions, and verbal working memory performance were assessed. Measures for primacy and recency regions were defined at the first trial of a 16-items word list. Hierarchical regression models were used to investigate the contribution of frontostriatal deficits beyond SPE on verbal memory recall performance (“long-delay free recall”) in PD and AD patients. Results: Primacy effects were significantly diminished in both PD-MCI and AD-MCI patients relative to NC and PD-CN (all p < 0.01). Compared to PD-MCI patients, AD-MCI patients exhibited significantly worse “delayed-recall ‘savings’.” Reduced primacy effect was predictive for decreased recall performance in PD and AD. The conducted hierarchical regression model revealed that in PD, but not in AD patients, performance of attention and executive function significantly increased the prediction of free recalled words. Conclusions: Reduced recall performance is likely due to impaired transition of newly learned material from STM into LTM in AD and in PD. Whereas AD-MCI patients suffer from a storage deficit, the similarly reduced recall performance found in patients with PD-MCI may additionally be related to deficient attentional and executive capacity.