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Understanding Dementia: Attention and Concentration Tests - DementiaGuide.com
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Understanding Dementia

Attention and Concentration

This is an excerpt from the book Understanding Dementia, which is meant to be a practical manual for primary care physicians and other health care professionals.

Attention and Concentration are tested during the entire interview with observations on the patient's level of distractability and ability to answer a question without losing the train of thought. More formal tests include saying the days of the week or months of the year backwards, or progressively more difficult calculations, such as counting backwards from 20 by 2, 40 by 4, and 100 by 7. Abnormal attention is the hallmark of delirium and should be carefully sought in a patient with new onset cognitive dysfunction, especially in the presence of an acute illness (Table 5.3).

Delirium (Table 5.3)

  • Acute onset
  • Fluctuating course
  • Inattention
  • Disorder of arousal (drowsy or hypervigilant)
  • Memory of impairment


Taken from Understanding Dementia: A Primer of Diagnosis and Management
Kenneth Rockwood & Chris MacKnight, 2001
Chapter 5, p 82


See Also:
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Attention/Concentration (lack of)
About Dementia > "Understanding Dementia" > Delirium
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Last updated December 4, 2018
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