Since 1979, our clinicians have used an autobiographical memory task testing for events that occurred over the most recent week and most recent month in their semistructured interview when assessing for dementia.
To examine correlations between scores on the autobiographical memory task and on 2 other commonly used brief memory tasks with results of a clinical assessment for dementia.
Participants were enrolled in Washington University Alzheimer Disease Research Center studies, were 60 years or older, and participated in assessments between May 29, 2002, and August 15, 2005 (N = 425).
Main Outcome Measures
Nonparametric Spearman rank correlations, adjusted for age and education status, between the Clinical Dementia Rating sum of boxes (CDR-SB) and scores on the autobiographical memory task and on 2 clinical brief memory tasks obtained from the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Short Blessed Test.
Scores on the autobiographical memory task and on each of the other 2 memory tasks correlated significantly with the CDR-SB (P < .001). Scores on the autobiographical memory task had a significantly higher correlation with results of the CDR-SB than the other 2 memory tasks (P < .001).
Clinicians may find the autobiographical memory task an important indicator of memory function and the autobiographical query a useful tool when assessing for dementia.