Acquisition and Long-Term Retention of a Fine Motor Skill in Alzheimers-Disease
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Brain and Cognition
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This study investigated the acquisition and long-term retention of the rotary pursuit task under varying amounts of practice in 12 moderate-to-severely demented AD patients and 12 healthy older adults. Equal numbers of AD and control subjects were randomly assigned to either 40, 80, or 120 trials of training (40 trials/day) on the rotary pursuit task, followed by 15-trial retention tests 20 min, 2 days, 7 days, and 37 days following the end of practice. Performance improved significantly in both groups during the first 40 trials, while additional practice provided no ensuing positive or negative effects. Further, subjects in both groups showed minimal forgetting across the four retention rests. Therefore, the results demonstrated that AD patients can effectively learn and retain a motor skill for at least 1 month.