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INTRODUCTION: The impact of several dementia syndromes on activities of daily living (ADLs) has been well documented, but no study has yet investigated functional ability in posterior cortical atrophy (PCA). The primarily visual nature of deficits in this condition is likely to have a pronounced impact on ADLs. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to profile functional change in PCA and identify predictors of change. METHOD: Twenty-nine PCA patients and 25 patients with typical Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their caregivers were included in this cross-sectional study. ADLs were assessed using the Disability Assessment for Dementia (DAD), administered to caregivers, assessing basic ADLs (e.g., eating, dressing) and instrumental ADLs (e.g., managing finances, meal preparation). The predictive utility of cognitive domains (Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination), behavioural impairment (Cambridge Behavioural Inventory-Revised) and demographic variables on ADL ability was also examined. RESULTS: PCA patients showed significantly reduced total ADL scores compared to AD patients (medium effect size, d = -0.7; p < 0.05), with significantly more impairment on basic ADLs (large effect size, d = -0.8; p < 0.05) but similar impairment on instrumental ADLs (medium effect size, d = -0.5; p > 0.05). A model combining patient mood, disinhibition, apathy, symptom duration, and memory and attention/orientation scores explained the variance of scores in functional decline (61.2%), but the key factor predicting ADL scores was attention/orientation (p = 0.048). CONCLUSION: This study shows the profound impact of PCA on ADLs and factors underpinning patients' disability. Attention/orientation deficits were found to correlate and contribute to variance in ADL scores. Future work to develop tailored interventions to manage ADL impairment in PCA should take these findings into account.

Original publication




Journal article


Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord

Publication Date





48 - 55


Activities of daily living, Alzheimer’s disease, Attention, Memory, Posterior cortical atrophy