By D.F. Swaab, E. Fliers, M. Mirmiran, W.A. Van Gool and F. Van Haaren (Eds.)
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Additional resources for Aging of the Brain and Alzheimer's Disease
With stimulus presentations of longer duration (100 ms), sensory memory was present, but to a lesser extent than in young persons (Salthouse, 1976). The second stage in information processing is also very temporary in nature. It lasts several seconds and is conceived by some as a kind of working memory: short-term memory is more a temporary ‘holding’ and organizational process than a structured memory store (Craik, 1977). According to Botwinnick (1981) old and young subjects behave similarly in short-term memory tests as long as the number of items to be recalled does not exceed about four or five.
The patient is less able to manage his personal and business affairs, because of failing memory and lack of initiative. Several language problems also become evident although they do not yet reach the level of clear-cut aphasia: speech remains fluent at first, but circumlocutions and paraphasias appear, and the patient experiences difficulties in word finding. The ability to express abstract thoughts decreases and there is an overall decrease in intellectual functioning. The restlessness already noted in stage 1 increases; patients become upset at night, and they tend to wander around.
In addition, several studies have attributed the difficulties to ‘inflexibility’, defined in terms of ‘giving up a selection procedure that once was effective but no longer is’ (Heglin, 1956), or the ‘inability to shift concepts’ (Wetherick, 1965). Others have shown that elderly people generally are less able to discern relevant from irrelevant information: a redundancy of irrelevant information was found to be disruptive to problem solving behavior (Arenberg, 1965). In addition, there was less efficient use of environmental cues for an optimal plan of action.
Aging of the Brain and Alzheimer's Disease by D.F. Swaab, E. Fliers, M. Mirmiran, W.A. Van Gool and F. Van Haaren (Eds.)