Glossary

divided attention Involves two or more simultaneous trains of cognitive activity in which the attentional focus has to be split between these activities either by simultaneously maintaining attention or rapidly switching between them.

episodic memory A type of memory involving recollection of specific experiences or episodes or where the context of material is also remembered. It can be contrasted with semantic memory, which is knowledge of the world, independent of the context in which it is acquired.

mental control Processes involved in the control and sequencing of cognitive activity. The term can be used in a similar fashion as executive functioning, which in turn encompasses the control processes relating to cognition.

perseveration The tendency to continue (inappropriately) a particular pattern of behavior or response. This can either occur continuously, such as repeating the same motor action, or after a delay, such as the unintentional repetition of a previously emitted response or idea.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common dementia, accounting for approximately 65% of cases and resulting in widespread neurodegenerative brain changes and accompanying progressive cognitive decline. The brains of people with AD are atrophic, with the most pronounced loss of brain tissue in the parietal and temporal lobes and with relative sparing of the occipetal, primary motor, and somatosensory cortices. The main histological changes include the presence of neuritic plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, granulovacuolar degeneration, gliosis, and neuronal cells loss. Accompanying these changes are depleted neurotransmitter functioning, affecting the main systems, including cholinergic, noradrenergic, and sero-tinergic function. A corresponding global reduction in cognitive function is the main feature of AD, but this has distinct patterns and can vary between patients. Cognitive neuropsychological investigations have helped establish the pattern of cognitive decline, mainly through studying groups of AD patients.

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