Autobiographical memory task in assessing dementia

Denise Maue Dreyfus, Catherine M. Roe, John C. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Since 1979, our clinicians have used an autobiographicalmemory task testing for events that occurred over themost recentweek and most recent month in their semistructured interview when assessing for dementia. Objective: 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. Design: Correlation study. Setting: Academic research. Participants: 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 (CDRSB) 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. Results: 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). Conclusion: Clinicians may find the autobiographical memory task an important indicator of memory function and the autobiographical query a useful tool when assessing for dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-866
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010

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