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By D.F. Swaab, E. Fliers, M. Mirmiran, W.A. Van Gool and F. Van Haaren (Eds.)

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This is one reason why control groups in clinical trials are necessary. J. M. RABEY: Concerning the ‘skepticism’ about the evidence of a true vitamin B,, deficit induced dementia, I recently had ANSWER: I am not ‘skeptical’ about this, and we look for vitamin B,, deficiency in all our patients with dementia; I only said that I have not encountered such a patient yet, but of course I don’t question that they exist. W. VAN TILBURG: For the diagnosis of dementia an evaluation of depressive symptoms is not sufficient.

The findings, until now, do not indicate that there is more than a quantitative difference between normal aging and dementia of the Alzheimer type. Recently, some attention has been given to the notion that the profile of scores on the WAIS subtests might be characteristic of a particular type of dementia (for review see Fuld, 1984). It has been suggested that such a profile might be of relevance 22 for the clinical differentiation of AD from other dementing processes. Unfortunately, the results add little to our insight into the nature of the cognitive deficits in dementia.

There seems not to have been much research on sensory memory in demented patients, possibly because these experiments are difficult to conduct with these patients (Miller, 1981). One study used the ‘backward masking paradigm’ to measure iconic memory. Demented patients were inferior to non-demented controls in reporting the first stimulus, indicating that masking had occurred. According to Miller (1977), this could be due to a defect in attention or iconic memory, and/or an enhanced susceptibility to interference.

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