What Proactive Semantic Interference and Persistent PSI Can Reveal About Cognitive Status: Rosie Curiel, PsyD


The associate professor of neuropsychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine provided insight on how persistent impairments seen on a cognitive screening tool may differentiate cognitive status. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

"The CST in particular goes a step further to say, ‘OK, for individuals who are susceptible to this failure to recover from proactive semantic interference, why don’t we give them another chance?’ We want to make sure that this cognitive breakdown is an entity in and of itself, independent from initial learning capacity."

A better understanding for the early signs and symptoms of conversion in late-life cognitive stages can be critical when developing a prevention plan. Previous research has identified proactive semantic interference as a potential early feature of incipient Alzheimer disease (AD), while there has been little research into retroactive semantic interference (frRSI), in AD and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). A new innovative tool, the Cognitive Stress Test, assesses a patient’s ability to recover from frRSI through multiple word lists.

At the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), July 31 to August 4, in San Diego, California, investigators evaluated the tools ability to measure the impact of semantic interference, frPSI, and its persistent effects. Among the several outcomes, the findings showed that a higher percentage of intrusion errors in the aMCI group confirm significant difficulties with inhibition, source memory, and monitoring despite multiple learning trials. Furthermore, persistent deficits were observed in those with pre-MCI and aMCI in learning List B trials relative to the cognitively unimpaired group.

The investigators, including Rosie Curiel, PsyD, also concluded that deficits in PSI, frPSI, and persistent frPSI suggested that these impairments are not solely a function of initial learning ability. Curiel, an associate professor of neuropsychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, addressed those thoughts and provided detail as to why these measures are good ways to distinguish cognitive statuses.

Click here for more coverage of AAIC 2022.

1. Nahmias L, Beaulieu AN, Ortega A, et al. The Cognitive Stress Test (CST): an innovative tool to differentiate cognitively unimpaired (CU) older adults from those with pre-mild cognitive impairment and amnestic MCI. Presented at: AAIC; July 31 to August 4; San, Diego, CA. 63696
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