Saccular Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease is Associated with Driving Difficulty

Eric X. Wei, Esther S. Oh, Aisha Harun, Matthew Ehrenburg, Yuri Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) experience increased rates of vestibular loss. Recent studies suggest that saccular impairment in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD patients is associated with impaired spatial cognitive function. However, the impact of saccular impairment on everyday behaviors that rely on spatial cognitive function is unknown. Methods: We recruited 60 patients (21 MCI and 39 AD) from an interdisciplinary Memory Clinic. Saccular function was measured, and a visuospatial questionnaire was administered to assess whether participants experienced impairments in terms of driving difficulty, losing objects, falls, and fear of falling. Results: In multiple logistic regression analyses, MCI and AD patients with bilateral saccular impairment had a significant, greater than 12-fold odds of driving difficulty (OR 12.1, 95% CI 1.2, 117.7) compared to MCI and AD patients with normal saccular function, and the association appears to be mediated by spatial cognition as measured by the Money Road Map Test. Conclusion: This study suggests a novel link between saccular impairment and driving difficulty in MCI and AD patients and demonstrates that driving difficulty may be a real-world manifestation of impaired spatial cognition associated with saccular impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-302
Number of pages9
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Automobile driving
  • Saccule and utricle
  • Spatial cognition
  • Vestibular system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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