Specific deficit of colour–colour short-term memory binding in sporadic and familial Alzheimer's disease

Mario A. Parra, Sergio Della Sala, Sharon Abrahams, Robert H. Logie, Luis Guillermo Méndez, Francisco Lopera

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81 Citations (Scopus)


Short-term memory binding of visual features which are processed across different dimensions (shape–colour) is impaired in sporadic Alzheimer's disease, familial Alzheimer's disease, and in asymptomatic carriers of familial Alzheimer's disease. This study investigated whether Alzheimer's disease also impacts on within-dimension binding processes. The study specifically explored whether visual short-term memory binding of features of the same type (colour–colour) is sensitive to Alzheimer's disease. We used a neuropsychological battery and a short-term memory binding task to assess patients with sporadic Alzheimer's disease (Experiment 1), familial Alzheimer's disease (Experiment 2) due to the mutation E280A of the Presenilin-1 gene and asymptomatic carriers of the mutation. The binding task assessed change detection within arrays of unicoloured objects (Colour Only) or bicoloured objects the colours of which had to be remembered separately (Unbound Colours) or together (Bound Colours). Performance on the Bound Colours condition (1) explained the largest proportion of variance between patients (sporadic and familial Alzheimer's disease), (2) combined more sensitivity and specificity for the disease than other more traditional neuropsychological tasks, (3) identified asymptomatic carriers of the mutation even when traditional neuropsychological measures and other measures of short-term memory did not and, (4) contrary to shape–colour binding, correlated with measures of hippocampal functions. Colour–colour binding and shape–colour binding both appear to be sensitive to AD even though they seem to rely on different brain mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1943-1952
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011


  • sporadic Alzheimer's disease
  • familial Alzheimer's disease
  • presenilin-1 mutation E280A
  • short-term memory binding
  • working memory
  • neuropsychological marker-s


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