Alcohol, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease: Comparison of neuropsychological profiles

Judith Saxton, Cynthia A. Munro, Meryl A. Butters, Carol Schramke, Melissa A. Mcneil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Thirty-nine detoxified elderly alcoholics (mean age = 65.85) completed a comprehensive assessment designed to identify individuals meeting DSM-IV criteria for alcohol-related dementia. Ten subjects meeting criteria (mean age = 69.8; mean Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE] = 25.1) were compared to the 29 nondemented alcoholics (mean age = 64.5; mean MMSE = 27.8), 9 patients with Alzheimer's disease (mean age = 73.4; mean MMSE = 22.3), and 15 control subjects (mean age = 70.8; mean MMSE = 28). Comparison of neuropsychological test scores revealed several statistically significant differences. Furthermore, the overall pattern of test performance between the two demented groups was different. Alzheimer's patients were more impaired on confrontation naming, recognition memory, animal fluency, and orientation. Alcohol dementia subjects were more impaired than controls on initial letter fluency, fine motor control, and free recall. However, alcohol dementia subjects did not differ from controls on tests of verbal recognition memory. This study suggests that it is possible to clinically differentiate the cognitive deficits of alcohol-related dementia from typical Alzheimer's disease. However, the results are preliminary and are based on small sample sizes so should be interpreted with caution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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