Selectivity of Executive Function Deficits in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Jason Brandt, Eleni Aretouli, Eleanor Neijstrom, Jaclyn Samek, Kevin Manning, Marilyn S. Albert, Karen Bandeen-Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Impairment in executive cognition (EC) is now recognized as relatively common among older persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and may be predictive of the development of dementia. However, both MCI and executive functioning are broad and heterogeneous constructs. The present study sought to determine whether impairments in specific domains of EC are associated with specific subtypes of MCI. MCI patients (n = 124) were divided into 4 subgroups (amnestic vs. nonamnestic, and single- vs. multiple-domain) on the basis of their performance of widely used neuropsychological screening tests. These patients and 68 normal older persons were administered 18 clinical and experimental tests of executive function. Principal components analysis suggested 2 highly reliable EC components, planning/problem solving and working memory, and a less reliable 3rd component, judgment. Planning/problem solving and working memory, but not judgment, were impaired among the MCI patients. This was true even among those with "pure amnestic" MCI, the least impaired group overall. Multiple-domain MCI patients had more severe impairments in planning/problem solving and working memory than single-domain patients, leading to the supposition that they, not pure amnestic MCIs, are at highest risk of imminent dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-618
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • dementia
  • executive function
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • principal components analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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